Commencement Profile 22: Mateo Ochoa will teach in the community he grew up in

Monday, June 13, 2022
Mateo Ochoa

Mateo Ochoa has earned a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master’s Degree in Education from the Teacher Education Program. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Chicana/o Studies at UCSB in 2020. His favorite experiences working with young students include being a paraeducator for three years in the After School/Expanded Learning Program in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and being a private virtual learning aide for a Kindergarten student in a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program in the Goleta Union School District during the COVD-19 pandemic. He also worked at Franklin Elementary School when students returned to campus for in-person instruction and wound up in a long-term substitute teaching position there for a second-grade class. As a 10th generation Santa Barbaran, he is passionate about working with lower-level elementary Latine youth and creating a diverse and inclusive classroom for his students.

GGSE: What is one thing about teachers or teaching that you wish more people knew?
Ochoa: I wish people knew how much of ourselves we give to our practice. For most of us, teaching does not feel like a career path, but part of us. We are teaching and teaching is us, and one does not exist without the other.

GGSE: Tell us about one of your fondest TEP memories.
Ochoa: The people who go through the Teacher Education Program together share a bond that no one else may understand. I will always remember the things we struggled through together, the lessons we taught one another, and the little things we did with and for each other to keep us going. “Jacks” come to mind for me. During our breaks between classes, a group of us participated in our carefully synchronized jumping jacks routine. We would be jumping and laughing…I think some people thought it was silly, but sometimes I think that it was the only thing that got us through some of those 12-hour days.

GGSE: What's next for you?
Ochoa: Next year I will be fortunate enough to teach at Hollister Elementary School in the Goleta Union School District. I am thrilled to have the privilege to remain in the community that I grew up in.

GGSE: Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 years?
Ochoa: I hope to remain in the classroom for as long as I can and I look forward to seeing how my teaching practice improves and changes over the years.

GGSE: Are there people at the Gevirtz School you would like to thank?
Ochoa: I attribute a lot of my growth over the year to Eva Oxelson and all of the TEP instructors. Thank you for supporting us to become the best teachers we can be.