Celebrating: Patricia Bernal

What drew you to your current position?

As a PK3 bilingual teacher, my classroom is my students’ first experience in a school environment. I get the privilege of introducing my little learners to a new world of adventures and experiences in two languages and in two cultures.  

How do you use writing or art in your life?

For me, writing is a form

 of self-expression, reflection, and connection. As a first generation – hija, hermana, mamá, esposa, maestra, estudiante – there is much to be said, shared, and recorded. I write for myself and my children, so that we have those moments and memories to treasure.  It is a perfect blend of strength and vulnerability that only writing and storytelling can capture. As a teacher, art and writing go hand in hand.  With my little learners, their imaginations come to life through their drawings. From there, we grow as cuentacuentos, escritores y artistas.  And when it happens, the twinkle in their eyes and the spark in their smiles, says it all.  It’s pure magic! 

What lessons and/or teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching – or the work you do in schools? 

I come from and belong to so many comunidades in and around Austin. But for me, it all started at home.  From our Saturday mornings being serenaded by my dad singing along with Vicente Fernandez while working in the yard to my mom teaching us the songs to sing at the posadas at Christmas time, it all goes back to our tradiciones y cultura.  I don’t recall seeing too much of my culture represented or celebrated in my classrooms growing up – other than the predictable Diez y Seis de Septiembre or Cinco de Mayo celebration. As a teacher, I want to go beyond these celebrations, so I proudly bring my tradiciones y cultura to my campus and classroom. They help me connect to my students and their families but also open up a conversation that allows me to learn and grow from their experiences.

All of my work is possible because of my parents, my Mami and Papi. I am always and forever in awe and humbled by their resilience, grit, and unshakable determination.  They motivate me to be a better parent, teacher, and advocate for my children and students.  

What would you tell your younger self? 

I would tell my younger self that you have so much to be proud of, to believe in yourself, and to be courageous to be you.  

What do you want the world to know?

We all form a part of the tapestry. Let’s embrace our diversity and create social change.

Something else you want to share?

To the mujeres fuertes y poderosas, always remember why you started!  ¡Sigue tu corazón porque tu sí puedes y juntas somos más poderosas!

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