What part of the program had the biggest impact on you?
Hands down, it has to be the field experiences combined with the access to interesting and challenging information that the Urban Teachers program provides. I taught for 450 hours through Breakthrough, interning with Early College High School in Round Rock, and student teaching at NYOS Charter School.
At the same time, our program was engaged in critical discussions around the intersections of education, culture, and identity. I am so thankful for the way that this program challenges societal and educational norms by giving us the opportunity to see how these theories and ideas truly play out through our field experiences.
Who has helped you during this experience that you would like to thank?
I am very thankful to the graduate assistants who have absolutely changed my life and mindset. Through both supporting and challenging my ideas, they shaped me into a more confident teacher. They have shown me what it truly means to listen to a person and what it means to think critically.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be teaching 7th grade English Language Arts at Wayside Charter School here in Austin. I hope to expand students’ ideas of literacy, challenge them to continuously question their world, and encourage lifelong literacy habits. Outside of teaching, I plan to stay committed to the Austin Zen Center to continue reading and writing around Buddhist philosophy and the implications of spiritual life in the modern world.
Mario Reyes is graduating with a degree in Youth and Community Studies and teacher certification in English Language Arts from the University of Texas Urban Teachers program.