Veronica Flores : 2020 Scholarship Winner
Enrolled: Midwestern State University
Major: “English Studies (Grades 7-12)” that will directly lead me to a teaching position in a high school
Besides the occasional homework assignment, I have always genuinely loved school, and not just for recess, lunch or friends. While those all added to my happiness, learning and experiencing that feeling in which logarithms finally make sense or I figure out the perfectly worded thesis always won out in my mind. In second grade, the first time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied, “Teacher.” Fast forward almost twelve years later, I’m still saying teacher, often to reactions ranging in the slightly crinkled disappointed eyes of my father or the twenty-minute rant from my grandparents who still believe that I could become a surgeon despite my intense disinterest in medicinal science.
Given this disappointment, I had to find ways to convey the passion that I have to become a teacher, starting with what I wanted to teach. After weighing my academic passions with my experiences as a substitute teacher to ages ranging from five to fourteen years old, I came to the conclusion that I should be a high school English teacher. After all, it was my high school English classes (and teachers) who tested my abilities for writing. Instead, of coasting by with my natural abilities, my teachers throughout those four years would refuse to give me the A that I so desperately craved until I proved to them that I could take criticism, learn from it, and show growth instead of plateauing as some of my other teachers allowed their students to do. Those English teachers taught me that hard work and effort shines where natural ability can diminish if not pushed; they all helped me continue to love school and learning while too many of my peers grew to hate the boredom that stemmed from their classroom stagnation. From these teachers, came the realization that I could be that teacher for someone else, I could be the class that people don’t just pass on from, but grow from.
Unfortunately, a teacher’s salary is not quite what my parents had envisioned for their daughter who seemed like she could have any career she chose. Growing older came with making hard decisions, so given the loving ultimatum of choosing a career with a higher starting salary and going to university fresh out of high school or choosing a career I was sincerely passionate about and staying at home until I ran out of classes I could take at the local community college, I chose the latter. My parents who had always shared their saying “you work to live, you don’t live to work” were clouded by my existence admittedly throwing a curveball into their teenage lives, forcing them to grow up and settle for needed jobs, rather than passionate careers. However, I took their “whoopsie-daisy” experience as a lesson on what not to do, which gives me less responsibility and more freedom to make my life mine, starting with choosing to be an educator for a subject that I’ve been passionate about given my love for creative writing and bookshelf filled to the brim with over four hundred novels. Thankfully, after patiently waiting a year, while working and taking as many credits as I could to get ahead, I will be transferring to Midwestern State University this coming fall a semester and a half ahead of my initial graduation date.
Obviously, my major “English Studies (Grades 7-12)” will directly lead me to a teaching position in a high school somewhere, but I consider this only the beginning. See, my plan was set starting around my freshman year of high school, in which I would take my good-kid status in Northwest ISD (NISD) and use it to build upon for a future in the school district as an educator. In high school, I graduated in the top five percent of my class, which clearly cemented my academic record as promising, which continued in this past year at Tarrant County College with two semesters being on the Dean’s List. Next step was to create a post-graduation relationship with the reputable school district by being a guest educator-substitute- for elementary and middle school aged students, reaffirming my joy of being in a normal classroom setting; while also providing me insight into being an authoritative figure in a classroom, something I had never experienced before. Choosing to attend Midwestern State University is not only financially responsible, but efficient in my goal to secure a teaching position in NISD as MSU’s intimately-sized, wonderful teaching program offers the chance to student teach in this school district, which typically leads to a permanent position at one of the schools. After (hopefully) securing a permanent offer, I will start my official teaching career in a school district that I know values the students and educators at all levels. Following a few years of experience, I plan to take weekend classes at a nearby university with the financial help of NISD as they have a past of helping teachers go back to school for their Master’s Degree to transfer into a high administrative position in the school district. Eventually, I will graduate for the third time and have the requirements to first become an assistant principal in NISD, a school district that already has a history of hiring women of color into high-up administrative jobs. My plan may seem overwhelming and excessive to some, but I have seen the consequences of what happens to people without a plan and I refuse to fail when teachers, family, and myself know I can succeed. I may come off as another applicant who wants to become a teacher, but I am a woman who knows what she wants and understands the effort and passion that is required to get there.