Scholar Stories: Miriam Ortiz

How do you use writing or art in your life?

I think both writing and art are powerful tools that serve as a platform to share our voices and stories. Both writing and art allow one to express our feelings, concerns, our vision of life and dreams. I see writing and art as a bridge that connects all with a world around us. I use writing a lot in my life, I often find myself writing poetry in moments of uncertainty to escape the world but also to rediscover myself. Through writing and art I express my feelings and thoughts and it helps me to better understand my emotions.

In the classroom, I constantly teach my students the importance of reflecting upon what we learn and our mistakes and one of the ways we do it is through writing. As an educator I always try to inspire my students to enjoy reading and writing and embrace its beauty. I think the most genuine and authentic way to do this is by simply helping students find themselves and guiding  them connect with their own personal life experiences for example their family and their roots. My lessons are always designed with a culturally responsive approach with a common denominator, to help all students discover who they are. My mission is always to uplift their identities by acknowledging their cultural backgrounds and adding value to their stories.

What lessons/teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching and/or scholarship?

My family y las mujeres fuertes de mi casa are my greatest inspiration. I openly share with my students who soon become my second family my own story. My story serves as a connection of inspiration to my students but also serves as a reminder to myself to never stop believing and to dream big! All of this guides my teaching practices and my eagerness to continue to do what I do! Learning should be memorable and that is exactly what I challenge myself to continue to create pathways that lead to success for all my students and their familias. 

I am a strong believer that actions speak louder than words, these actions driven by a community of learners who show desire to grow with me side by side become my strength. The stories that my students and their families bring to the classroom are assets that create new pathways to authentic culturally responsive learning. Together we create opportunities to constantly connect with each other and with the world around us. My goal as an educator is to always inspire and teach all my students to embrace diversity and who they are. Mi vocación va más aya de las expectativas. Yo le enseño a cada uno de mis alumnos y sus familias a sentirse orgullosos de sus raíces y su identidad! Together my students and their families grow, learn to believe, and learn to dream big! Together we become strong familias luchadoras, soñadores luchando en el ring de la vida con alas para volar. My students, their families, and our stories become our strength to move forward y siempre adelante!

What would you tell your younger self?

If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, I would say exactly what I tell my students now. Be proud of who you are, where you come from, be fearless and dream big! Education is the key to success and one must persevere regardless of the obstacles we may encounter along the way to achieve our goals. I would encourage myself to be brave and let my voice be heard. I was too shy when I was younger and always had a lot of questions, I was always curious and had the eagerness to learn more but I was always afraid to speak up with fear of being judged and misunderstood.  

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