“I was very fortunate to have a brother who would guide me in the right direction”

This is Ms. Rodriguez outside of her classroom next to her bulletin board which has pictures of Loteria cards that her students drew.
This is Ms. Rodriguez outside of her classroom next to her bulletin board which has pictures of Loteria cards that her students drew.

Ms. Rodriguez is an 8th grade History teacher at Animo Ellen Ochoa Charter Middle School, she shares a story on how her childhood impacted who she is now. Growing up Ms. Rodriguez had a tough childhood for many serious reasons. This consisted of the divorce of her parents, but also living in a gang infested neighborhood. Living in a neighborhood that was full of dangers was not her choice of living. But, there was one person who helped her cope with the difficult times. Her brother.

Her brother was the person who would support, and guide her in the right direction. He would say all types of things to her, encouraging her to not give up, and soon one day they will be out of that mess, and live a better life. Ms. Rodriguez learned a lot through her experiences, she learned that not everything will be perfect, and there will always be difficult times, that’s apart of life, but she does know that if she keeps on trying, that one day she will get there, and won’t have to worry about those sad times, thanks to her brother, and his wise full words. 



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Jade Valdez: Hi, how are you today
Ms. Rodriguez: I am good, good thank you for asking.
JV: As I mentioned I am a student journalist at Oscar De La Hoya, and I will be asking you a series of questions.
JV: Are you ready to start
Ms. Rodriguez: Yes 
JV: Would you like to start off by introducing yourself.
Ms. Rodriguez: Sure, I am Ms. Rodriguez, I am an 8th grade History teacher here at Animo Ellen Ochoa.
JV: Okay!
JV: Would you like to share some fun facts about yourself? 
Ms. Rodriguez: Sure, I ran the marathon three times, the LA marathon. I have four children, ones about to go to college, which is very nerve racking and I really enjoy eating lots of Mexican food.
JV: Nice! 
Ms. Rodriguez: Why did you decide to teach history?
JV: I loved history in High School, I had a really great history teacher, he used to make it really fun and when I went to college that’s the only subject that I was interested in, so I started taking classes, and I got a history degree, and when I got out of college, I thought I liked working with kids, I wanted to work with kids and just seem to both things that I enjoy doing together. 
JV: Okay! Did you like the subject of history growing up in school? 
Ms. Rodriguez: Not in elementary school nor middle school. It was boring, and they didn’t make it very easy to understand. I guess when I got to high school, that’s when I started to understand it, enjoy it and really got into it.
JV: Can you tell me about your biggest success in school?
Ms. Rodriguez: My biggest success in school, I guess it was running the marathon when I was in ninth grade, when I ran the LA Marathon, and it was successful for me because I think I was very insecure, very quiet, wasn’t involved in a lot of things, so when I did that I felt like I could do anything, and after that I became more open and willing to try new things. 
JV: Okay nice!
JV: What has been one of your biggest accomplishments? 
Ms.Rodriguez: Biggest accomplishment, probably graduating from college was a big accomplishment for me because it was really difficult to do it. I was the first one in my family to do it, so it was just like kind of the first person to do that. My family was very proud, and it opened a lot of doors for me as well. 
JV: How is this school different or similar to your school growing up? 
Ms. Rodriguez: The school that I teach at?
JV: No, how is this school right here different from the school you grew up in. 
Ms. Rodriguez: AEO
JV: Yes
Ms. Rodriguez: AEO is different because, I think in the middle school I went to, I used to see the back of the teachers’ heads. A lot because they were writing on the chalkboard and the kids would be messing around, and the teacher didn’t pay no mind to it and I guess I wanted to be different from that. I wanted to be a teacher that got to know the students and that would talk to them, make the learning fun, and interesting, and that they understood it . So whenever I like to grade their assignments and then they get it. I was like “Yes they got it, they understood it” and I think for myself I didn’t understand a lot of what went on in school, in middle school. 
JV: Have you ever thought about changing your career, and if so why?
Ms. Rodriguez: Changing my career, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I really enjoy teaching. A lot of the teachers that I taught with in the beginning of my career have become principals, or they have gone to do other things, and I just can’t  imagine myself. I imagine myself being an old lady with gray hair, teaching still. 
JV: So, you wouldn’t imagine yourself in another type of job.
Ms. Rodriguez: Another type of job? I mean I guess if I could choose maybe it would probably still be in education and it would probably be with younger kids maybe because they are adorable. 
JV: How was your childhood like growing up?
Ms. Rodriguez: My childhood growing up was a little difficult, my parents did not get along, and they did eventually divorce, so that was tough. I did grow up in a gang infested neighborhood, so it was difficult, but I was very fortunate to have a brother who would guide me in the right direction, and he would say ” We are gonna get out of here, and we gonna do it, and we’re gonna be successful. When we have families in the future we’re gonna have a better life.” He used to  say those things a lot to me and I really took it to heart. 
JV: Okay, You think your younger self would see you for who you are right now.
Ms. Rodriguez: And they would see, would they think this is what I was gonna be.
JV: Yeah!
Ms, Rodriguez: No! I think my younger self thought I was, I think my younger self, yes. Actually, I would like to change my answer. Yes, my younger self would look at me and say you are doing everything, you said you were gonna do. It took you a little bit longer than you thought. I am like, I am currently getting my masters degree, I thought I was gonna do that in my 20’s, but I am doing it now because my kids did kind of take up some of my time, my children. So, I am doing it now. My younger self would be very proud of me that I am doing that now. 
JV: What has been one of your favorite memories?
Ms. Rodriguez: Favorite memory, you know it was a very recent one. I took a vacation with my family. We went to Hawaii, and it was just a lot of fun seeing my kids enjoy themselves, and try new things I never did before. It has been a long time since I’ve taken a vacation like that because I work a lot, and take care of a lot of my children. We did that and it was a lot of fun. 
JV: Has there ever been a student who had a significant impact on you?
Ms. Rodriguez: Yes, there actually have been many students who have had an impact on me. I can remember one student last year who. I think the students that stand out the most to me a lot of the time are the kids who are not happy in my class and they don’t want to be there, in the beginning, and then as the year progresses they realize that it’s a good place and they’re happy to be there. So, when students do that, it’s like a very. When that happens it’s like a very impressionable moment, I think for both of us, maybe they may not think so, but I do think so. You know the student came through and they struggled, but then they had success. Whenever students go through moments like that, I tend to have one every year, at least one. It’s just a very nice moment. 
JV: If you could have dinner with someone dead or alive, who would it be?
Ms. Rodriguez: I would probably want to have dinner with Lin Manuel Miranda. The Hamilton creator, Hamilton because I just love his work, so I would love to have dinner with him. 
JV: And now lastly are there any words of wisdom you would like to pass along?
Ms. Rodriguez: Words of wisdom is just to, I mean it’s kind of cliche, but to never give up on your dreams, keep trying even when it gets difficult there’s always a solution. It will be difficult, it will be, you will feel like there is no end to beating some of the struggles sometimes, but if you keep trying, talk to people, get advice, time will heal the wounds, time will heal the pain, and keep going. You will find that you will be able to meet your goals. 
JV: Is there anything else you would like to add? 
Ms. Rodriguez: I am very proud to be here with you right now, to see you how much you’ve grown and what you are doing, and I am just very proud of you.
JV: Thank you!
Ms. Rodriguez: Thank you! 

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