More than 280 UTSA education majors are headed back into the classroom, albeit in a different role, after they received their teaching certification on Friday.
“It's everything I've always wanted to be,” said Ashley Simpson. “I want to be able to work with kids every day, be a kid every day, and inspire them."
Many of the newly certified teachers completed their student-teaching jobs during the fall semester. Sarai Lara made the 81 mile trip from Uvalde, Texas to San Antonio each day in order to teach at Japhet Elementary.
“I don’t regret any of it at all. It’s been a great experience,” Lara said. “This is something I’ve been working toward for a very long time and I’m super excited that I got to the end of my goal and I feel that anything is possible now.”
The next step for the state’s newest certified teachers is landing a job. The education school’s leader said this class has the energy and attitude that should make them a worthy hire for any Texas school district.
"There's something about this graduating class that is really special,” said Betty Merchant, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “A kind of enthusiasm and joy its very perceptible this time around.”
And even though the pay may be low, for teachers like Daniel Leija, who was named the 2011 Texas teacher of the Year, that enthusiasm will help the new educators make a difference in the lives of their students.
“For a student who has really been struggling, has tried everything else, and all of a sudden that light bulb goes on, that chill that goes down your spine and that weakness in your knees is more than any amount of pay they could give you,” he said.
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