My commitment to the education of emergent bilingual children started when my son enrolled in a U.S. public school that did not value his native language and also was not prepared to teach him English. Due to his challenging educational experiences, maintaining and developing children’s native language and effectively developing English proficiency became a personal matter for me. I was not a teacher at the time. My journey through the U.S. educational system started there. Since then, I have been an active volunteer, a bilingual paraprofessional, and an early childhood and elementary bilingual teacher in Texas and Colorado public schools.
Currently, due to the generosity of Dr. Bill Barclay and his wife Connie, I am a Miramontes scholar and a doctoral candidate in the Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity program at the University of Colorado Boulder. I have had the honor to have Dr. Guillermo Solano-Flores and Dr. Lucinda Soltero-González as my advisors in this academic journey. In the last three and a half years, teaching, research, and service assistantships at the University of Colorado Boulder have prepared me to be a skilled teacher instructor, to initiate and maintain a robust research program, and to successfully collaborate with public schools and community members.
During my doctoral program, I have specialized in the education of emergent bilinguals, academic language and literacy development in content areas, and formative assessment. In my dissertation, I am investigating how teachers who teach science to emergent bilingual students use informal formative assessment practices to address issues of academic language. In the future, I am interested in continuing this line of research in other content areas. Additionally, I would like to define and operationalize constructs that represent the knowledge and skills of effective teachers for emergent bilinguals and to investigate programs that enable these teachers to develop what is necessary to be responsive to the needs of this growing student population.
Throughout the last 13 years, all my professional decisions and many of my personal ones have been oriented to making a difference in the educational experiences of immigrant emergent bilingual children such as my son. My son and his immigration experience have enabled me to see bilingualism beyond the cognitive, cultural, and economic advantages that it affords. For our family, bilingual education and being bilingual is more a matter of being close to those that we love, getting to know or continuing appreciating our culture of origin, and, what is most important, always being proud of who we are and where we come from.