Orange Grove’s 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year

Ariadna Rodriguez

I was born in a rural town in Mexico, and lived there for the first seven years of my life. I am the youngest of five and the daughter of an extremely hardworking construction worker. My father like millions of others worked here in Houston while we remained in Mexico. Thanks to the Immigration Reform in the eighties my father received the pathway to citizenship in which he then was able to go through the process of legally bringing us to be united at last. Our move here to the United States was life changing to say the least.

I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in middle school, inspired by my experience with my own teacher. As a student, I struggled to understand my own potential. As a new arrival student and English learner I had a difficult time adjusting to a new country and a new language. I remember feeling helpless, misguided, and even rebellious out of frustration. My seventh grade teacher, Ms. Mackowski, recognized the potential I had and pointed out to me how smart I really was. No one had ever shown me that they believed in me; much less had anyone told me I was ‘smart.’ From that moment on, I took my education very serious. The joy and pride I felt as I excelled in school was unmatched by any other moment from then on.

My teacher taught me to believe in myself. She taught me about the value of hard work, dedication, and the joy one experiences from helping others. As a teenager, I knew I wanted to share those lessons. I am proud to say that I am an Aldine product and I knew I wanted to come back to the school district where I grew up in to give back to students like me. For the past six years, I have been fortunate enough to do so, with great success.

In my six year career, I have performed different leadership roles. I have been grade level chair three times. I have presented in faculty meetings for teachers. I have helped organize school wide events to help community involvement and to teach literacy importance to parents. I have also participated in leadership meetings to help with goal setting such as developing campus improvement plans. I have been a part of different school committees and a school representative for our district’s Vertical Educational Advisory Committee. Additionally, I have taught extended day classes to help struggling English learners and students with low academics.

I have worked for six years as a bilingual teacher here at Orange Grove Elementary. I taught third grade for five years and fourth grade for one year. My experience ranges from being self-contained teaching all subjects, to a two way split teaching reading and writing, to a three way split teaching reading and English to new arrival students. I currently have about seventy students. Some who looped to fourth grade with me.

My teaching style is stern but sweet at the same time. My students understand that I have high expectations for them, but that I also care about them. I always remind them to believe in themselves and simply try their best at all times. I aspire to be an administrator in the future. In the meantime I strive to be the best teacher I can be by continuously growing as an Educator. I am passionate about our profession and I love being involved.