We're really inspired by Regan Sanchez, a University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) student and pre-service teacher who is the September International Reading Association Member of the Month. Her energy is contagious, and her love for literacy education is enough to rejuvenate beginning and veteran teachers alike. In this interview, she shares her road to the profession, her council leadership, and her recent success at IRA 2013.
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I was very young because I loved to play "school," buy school supplies, and help teachers in the summer time. My sisters would become frustrated because the only thing I wanted to play was "school" and, of course, I had to be the "teacher." As I got older, I spent my summers helping my mother (a teacher) and her coworkers clean, organize, and decorate their classrooms. I loved every minute of cutting things out, planning bulliten boards, and organizing. I knew that there was much more to teaching and I couldn't wait to learn all about it!
In which areas of education are you most interested?
I am mostly interested in English as a Second Language education, because I saw a lot of my friends struggle in school because their first language was not English. Honestly, if I had the opportunity to earn a degree in each of areas of education, I would do it in a heartbeat!
Which professional development books inspire you?
The book In the Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and Learning by Nancie Atwell really inspired me. The author wrote honestly about time management, writing workshops, and simply just doing the best you can. As I read the book for class, it did not feel like just another textbook. I actually had a hard time making myself stop reading!
How long have you bean an IRA member?
This will be my fourth year as a member of the International Reading Association Student Council at UTSA. This will be my second year as a member of the IRA.
What has your involvement been with your the Student Council?
I am currently serving my second semester as the President of UTSA's council. As the President, I communitcate with my advisors, manage our social media accounts, and help the other officers complete their tasks. Before I was nominated to be the President, I was an executive member, so I would volunteer to help with duties such as making posters, attending meetings, and help in any way possible.
How do you use technology to assist with the goals of the council and your other training and professional development activities?
I am constantly using technology to create Prezi's, PowerPoints, send e-mails, update our social media pages, and creating brochures or flyers. I also use Google documents to track our memberships, manage our t-shirt sales, and add events on our calendar.
How was your experience at the IRA Annual Convention in April?
I had the honor of hosting a roundtable at the IRA Convention in San Antonio this year. I felt like I was in heaven! I loved seeing all of the huge IRA banners around my hometown. I was even more excited to talk with other IRA members about my student council!
Would you recommend that pre-service teachers join IRA, and why?
I would highly recommend pre-service teachers to join IRA, because the magazines, blogs, and conferences offer valubale information. Another great reason for pre-service teachers to join IRA is to gain a large network within the education community.
What are you most nervous about as you enter to education field?
I am mostly nervous about working with special education students. I have learned a lot about the laws and ways of testing, but I would really like to hear more about other teachers experiences.
What do you like to do when you're not studying or working?
When I am not studying or working, I love to read, bake, dance, cook, scrapbook, travel, and attend Jazzercise classes. I also love to watch movies such as Freedom Writers, Coach Carter, and Dangerous Minds!
What has been your favorite experience in the education field?
This summer, I had the opportunity to teach English in Guadalajara, Spain for two months! I experienced being in a country where you don't speak the same language as the locals. I felt like this experience was extremely valuable, because I can relate to my future students and I gained teaching experience.
What is your favorite quote about teaching?
"A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops" -Henry Adams
Read more from Sanchez in "IRA Student Council: Preparing Me for my Future as a Teacher" on the Engage blog.