This week we caught up with Kevin Valdez, a Single Subject Teaching Credential (Science) and Master of Education candidate in the Teacher Education Program. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2019 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Science and Math Education. He is driven to bring science literacy into his classrooms and also to provide his students with a sense of stewardship and appreciation with the world around them.
GGSE: What or who inspired you to become a teacher?
Valdez: I knew I wanted to become a teacher since middle school but was really inspired to become a teacher by my 12th grade AP Environmental Science teacher Mr. Yong. He is the reason why I was introduced to my favorite subject and decided to pursue a Bachelors in Environmental Studies at UCSB, and why I decided to pursue becoming a science teacher after I mentioned it to him and he told me he thought I would be excellent at it.
GGSE: What subject do you plan to teach and why?
Valdez: I plan to teach Biology and hopefully one day AP Environmental Studies. Science education and literacy is so important and I have seen more and more students simply write off science as dumb and not necessary. I want to be able to change that and show my students that the sciences are important in our every day lives.
GGSE: Which TEP class are enjoying most?
Valdez: I am enjoying our English Learner and Specifically Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE) classes. Being a person of color and a first-gen Salvadorian graduate student, I am very interested in being able to support my students that are English language learners and hope to be a role model to them, other Latinx students, and all my other students from different backgrounds as well.
GGSE: TEP is an intense experience with classes, school work, and student teaching. What do you do to relax and stay sane?
Valdez: TEP is definitely intense, but I feel like I am in the right place with a supportive community with my cohort and faculty. In between classes, school work, student teaching, and also working weekends at Target I like to just relax and listen to music. New release Friday’s are my favorite and when I find a new song or two that I like I just listen to it over and over again until I find a new infatuating song. I also try to keep up with a show or two but usually fall behind.