Celebrating: Coral Zayas #HispanicHeritageMonth

What drew you to your current position?

I get to help build a middle school dual language program, 6th grade is my favorite grade to teach and I love working with programs that are just starting. They also truly honor the teacher’s strengths. I have the pleasure of teaching both subjects I love world cultures (6th grade social studies), and STEM in Spanish. I love that I get to honor my student’s first language and help support my Spanish as a second language students while teaching content I love. I also enjoy getting to help our students envision themselves in careers they may not even have heard of before, I love getting to help spark their curiosity for what truly is possible for their futures.  

How do you use writing or art in your life?

I definitely think teaching is my art form, while I also enjoy photography and dancing, creating engaging and fun learning experiences is how I get to use the art of lesson design everyday. 

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? 

The lesson of education as our pathway to freedom and opportunity has been ingrained in me since I was a child. The opportunity for not just an education but an education that opened up doors was the reason my parents moved to Texas from Puerto Rico when I was just 4 months old. That core value has never left me, and even though I never envisioned myself as a teacher at first, I think my mom always knew I’d be a teacher and she helped me get my first volunteer role in a library that led to tutoring and eventually teaching after college. Also a clear sense of the value of culture, it’s what I enjoy the most out of being a dual language teacher. I get to make sure students know how much value and joy our culture brings to our lives and help our students whose first language is English have an appreciation for the beauty of Hispanic culture and our language.  

What would you tell your younger self? 

Push past the negativity, set your goals high and just go for them, sometimes your worst enemy is you. Believe in yourself, whatever you truly set your mind to, you can do. 

What do you want the world to know?

Our transformation as a society is brewing, this year may be like no other in our lifetime, but it is also the year where we can make a huge impact for our future, and that of future generations. Young or old, our voices matter, if you can vote don’t give up the privilege, make sure your voice is heard. Amplify the voices of those who cannot vote and make sure they too are heard.

Something else you want to share?

Nelson Mandela’s quote, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” resonates with me daily, I truly hope that we all can take advantage of the gift of education, and help ensure all students can get access to a transformative educational experience so they too can change the world for the better. 

Social Media:

Twitter: @mszbiled (Personal)

 @austinavanza (Affinity Group for Educators of Color and their Allies in the Austin metro area) 

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