GGSE: What made you want to be a teacher?
Cesar Plascencia Zuniga: I am becoming a teacher to be able to give back to my community in the best way I know how. I find satisfaction in teaching at a public school because I know my work is directly profiting students. I also reflect on the teachers I have had growing up and the doors they have opened for me. I want to open similar doors for my future students and help them understand everything they are capable of achieving.
GGSE: What made you choose TEP at UCSB to do your graduate school work?
Zuniga: I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, so when I reached out to my high school teachers about being interested in teaching, they all told me to apply to UCSB's Teacher Education Program. As a result, TEP was the only graduate program I considered. I feel as though I am learning more about my hometown everyday and how to make my teaching relevant to the community I grew up in.
GGSE: Who was your favorite teacher in your life, and why?
Zuniga: I am incredibly fortunate to have had so many amazing teachers throughout my time in Santa Barbara public schools, namely at Monte Vista Elementary, La Colina Junior High, and Dos Pueblos High School. It's difficult to choose one specific teacher, but I distinctly remember Ms. Kalbag, my high school calculus teacher, who never had low expectations for her students. Her class was one of the hardest ones I took in high school and I learned that I can accomplish way more than what I had initially believed of myself.
GGSE: If you have any free time (we realize how consuming TEP is), how do you like to spend it?
Zuniga: When I have free time, I like to spend it by enjoying dinner with my family, riding bikes around town, learning to love reading again, hosting casual weekend poker games, and finding new ways to appreciate nature.