I’m a Former Migrant Student. Schools Need to Hire More Educators Who Look Like Me.

When I first started going to school, my teachers would sit with me in the back of the classroom. My parents immigrated from Mexico and were farm workers who lived in Florida and migrated across the country based on the season. This means that I not only went to school in Florida, but also in the states we’ve traveled to, like Indiana and Michigan.

At the time, I couldn’t speak English, so it was easy for me to be ignored by my classmates and teachers. Such a challenge was the inability to communicate and communicate with anyone. I had no Hispanic/Latino teachers and no one could speak Spanish. I had to learn at a young age how to adapt. Fortunately, I did. I excelled academically, graduated 12th in my class, and served as the first Latin president of the State Student Association. Later, I had the honor of being the first Latina to be inducted into my high school’s Hall of Fame.

As I moved through the various roles I held in public education—as teacher, assistant principal, principal, and district office administrator—I saw many of our immigrant students face the same challenges I did before. can relate. For this reason, I feel that supporting this population is one of the most urgent priorities in education today.

Immigrant students need to feel welcome, assured, embraced, and supported as much as possible. There is nothing better we can do for our students than provide them with a world-class education with role models who speak their language and provide a sense of belonging – especially since immigrant students often face unique challenges.

In some families, there is an expectation that children must provide financial support, which means that students may neglect to attend school regularly, and end up in need of additional support in academics, language development and social and emotional care. It is essential that we try to understand their cultural experiences by engaging them openly and trying to understand their way of life. This shows a sincere effort to connect, empower and make them feel welcome.

As I taught myself, acting is important. They help enrich learning environments where all students can see themselves reflected in those that serve them. For this reason, it is important to review and ensure that hiring practices are fair, reasonable and equitable.

One of the steps I’ve taken as president of the Florida Association of Latino Administrators and Supervisors is to meet with supervisors to discuss equality in hiring and representation. FL-ALAS provides leadership that ensures that every school in Florida effectively serves the educational needs of all students, with a special focus on Hispanic/Latino youth through capacity building, promoting best practices, and transforming educational institutions. We review things like eligibility criteria for new jobs to make sure we’re not screening good applicants, and we talk about the importance of creating ethnically diverse committees to develop future hiring criteria.

In addition, I analyzed personnel data from the Florida Department of Education, and reviewed the qualification and eligibility requirements for administrative vacancies. Sharing this information with district leaders helps initiate larger conversations about employment practices and the processes used within their district.

Taking these small, courageous steps helps highlight the importance of fair hiring practices to school and district leaders. It’s an important way in which we can help increase diversity among teachers and administrators, not only so that we can properly represent diverse and marginalized student groups, but so that they feel representation as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.