EDINBURG - Five teachers from Alamo Middle School, Gilbert Gomez, Linda Soto, Selma Barrera, Lydia Gomez and Iris Mendoza, recently were awarded a $10,000 AACTE-Metlife Fellowship, sponsored by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Metropolitan Life Foundation in collaboration with The University of Texas-Pan American.
"We all feel extremely honored to receive this fellowship," said Gilbert Gomez. "You have to have empathy for these kids and know where these kids come from in order to know how to reach them. Through this program, we are hoping to share some information that could help other teachers get a better understanding."
Linda Soto, an elementary teacher for 13 years, agreed.
"Our Hispanic children have a lot to offer the nation," Soto said. "If I can help other teachers to help their students, I feel I have made a contribution."
"The goal of the program is to open the window so others might see how to best teach Hispanic children who are culturally and linguistically diverse, not deficit," said Dr. Hilda Medrano, Dean of the School of Education at UTPA. "It is our hope to generate a guide which will include best practices, strategies, materials, information packets, transparencies and all information needed to prepare teachers of other cultures in how to bridge the gap for Hispanic children to be academically successful."
According to Medrano, the five mentor teachers were selected because of their demonstrated ability to successfully engage and instruct culturally diverse students, particularly Hispanic and African-American students.
The teachers are state-certified PK-12, public school teachers currently serving as classroom teachers and teacher preparation program mentor teachers. The five teachers represent a range of grade levels, teaching experience, and disciplines.
For more information on the fellowship, contact Medrano at 956/381-3628.