Celebrating: Alyssa Vega #LatinxHeritageMonth

What drew you to your current position?

Becoming a teacher was like alchemy. When I first graduated from UT Austin in 2014, I decided to pack up all of my things and move to New York City. I have always loved to write and that always seemed like the place for writers to be. I took writing classes in the park every Sunday and my creativity felt like it was coming alive through the pages but finding a job to match my passion wasn’t so easy. After nearly a year of battling with my emotions and missing my family, I moved back to Austin and found an entry-level marketing job. For 2 years, I learned new skills and took on roles that allowed me to take on writing responsibilities but something was still missing. After talking about it with close friends and family, they helped me realize that it was time for a career change and teaching seemed to be calling my name. In 2017, I began a teaching certification program and joined the staff at Navarro ECHS later that year. I was so nervous on my first day but looking back on it now, I had no reason to be. I love what I do and everyday I get to write with my students and help them grow as writers too. 

How do you use writing or art in your life?

Writing is a part of who I am. I write something everyday because when I don’t, it feels like something is missing. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been called to the page and now, being a teacher, I get to do what I love everyday and share my love of writing with my students. I believe that writing is healing and the process of writing myself all these years has helped shape me into the woman I have become. 

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 most important lesson I carry with me everywhere I go is, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.” In other words, don’t just talk about making a change or doing the things you want to do, go out there and make it happen. I share this saying with my students at the beginning of the year because when my Grandma shared it with me, it stuck and changed the way I viewed taking “risks.” Had it not been for her voice in my head (and my parents reinforcing that message) all those years, I might have done half of the things I’ve done. Forever grateful for my familia. 

What would you tell your younger self? 

“Keep writing. Your stories need to be heard.” Even though I’ve written nearly everyday since I was about 8 years old, writing was largely a thing I did in secret. All of my best writing was locked away in Lisa Frank diaries hidden somewhere inside my room while the key was kept in another place altogether. It was so personal and my worst nightmare was that someone (one of my brothers) would somehow get it open and know everything that was inside my head. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college when I discovered blogging and somehow mustered up enough courage to hit “publish” on that first post. I shared the link first with my bestie, who then begged me to post the link for everyone on Facebook. My life was changed forever when comments from friends first and eventually strangers wrote to tell me how much they “needed to hear” those words. Since then, I’ve come to realize that my stories are not only worth telling, they are worth sharing. 

What do you want the world to know?

If you have a passion, pursue it and use it for good. I am a Chicana writer and Teacher who believes that Black Lives Matter and I will use my gift of words to write and fight and speak out. What will you do?

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