In 2016, as a student in Midland College’s (MC) Associate of Arts in Teaching program,
Mayra Garcia was assigned to a 2nd grade class at Crockett Elementary School for her
field observation course.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” Garcia recalled. “The majority of students at
Crockett were classified as economically disadvantaged. Some of them lived with grandmothers
because both parents were in jail, or they lived with a single mom who was struggling
to make ends meet and put food on the table. The children came to school in such
a good mood, wanting to learn, despite the fact that many of them were hungry. That’s
when I knew that my job is to open doors for them, and teaching is my calling.”
In the fall of 2019, when Garcia was ready for her semester as a student teacher,
she specifically asked to be assigned to a school where the majority of students are
economically disadvantaged. That’s how she started her career as a teacher at De
Zavala Elementary School in Midland.
Garcia was born in Houston, where she spent her early school years. When she was
in the 7th grade, her family moved to Midland, and Garcia graduated from Midland High
School in 2011. In the fall of 2011, she enrolled at Midland College and graduated
with an associate degree in 2013.
“I just took general studies courses, and then I went to work for a Canadian-based
oil and gas company – Canelson Drilling,” Garcia said. “I worked in the Human Resources
department. When the company was purchased by Trinidad Drilling, I was laid off.
My boyfriend said, ‘You need to get out of the oil and gas industry and do something
“I had always thought that I would go back to a four-year university and pursue an
education degree. I discovered that I could start with Education courses at Midland
College through the Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) program, so I met with Denise
McKown, [MC Dean of Education]. She is truly an inspiration and is passionate about
teaching. Upon meeting her, I decided that I wanted to end up like her.”
Garcia began the AAT program in 2016. She said that because of making some pretty
bad grades the first time she was at Midland College, she had to retake some courses.
“I called it ‘repairing my GPA,’” Garcia said.
Garcia managed to not only raise her GPA, but also excel in her education courses.
In the summer of 2018, she transferred to the University of Texas, Permian Basin (UTPB)
to finish her education degree, and in December 2019 graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
“I wouldn’t recommend that students do what I did and be in the position of having
a low GPA; however, if my grades hadn’t been that low, I don’t think I would have
worked as hard as I did,” Garcia explained. “I probably wouldn’t have made the Dean’s
List and President’s list at MC. I wouldn’t have made Dean’s list my first semester
at UTPB, and without a doubt I wouldn’t have met the great teachers I met along the
way who continue to inspire, push and mentor me.”
Currently, Garcia is working at De Zavala Elementary School. She was actually offered
a job while she was still doing her student teaching at the school with lead teacher
“Christi is a great role model, and the principal Julie Sims and assistant principal
Monica Hernandez are very supportive,” Garcia said. “I was thrilled when they offered
me a position teaching 6th grade Science and Social Studies.”
Garcia admits that her first semester as a teacher was a bit stressful, mainly due
to having to teach online for 9 weeks during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Fortunately, I had a great team of 6th grade teachers at De Zavala,” Garcia explained.
“The students were already accustomed to working on Google Chromebooks. So, they
were familiar with interactive online learning. We had to loan some of the Chromebooks
to students who didn’t have access to a computer at home. I would upload videos for
the students to watch on their own. The students had online interactive notebooks,
and assignments were done through Google Docs. Every Friday, I held live video sessions
in order to touch base with the students and see if they had questions. The hardest
part was getting the students to engage.”
Next school year, Garcia is looking forward to once again being in the classroom teaching
In her spare time, Garcia enjoys crafting and watching football with her boyfriend
José Bosquez who is a graduate of MC’s Diesel Technology program. Garcia said that
she is a Texans fan, and Bosquez is a Cowboys fan. They always try to travel to games
when the two teams play each other.
“I’m so glad that I met Denise McKown and made the decision to become a teacher,”
Garcia said. “My ultimate goal is to get a master’s degree in Education in a few
years. Education can open a lot of doors. I want to help make children’s lives better.”