MC grad finds her calling through teachingJuly 02, 2020

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Mayra Garcia at MC graduation.

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 else.’

“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 Walker. 

“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 4thgrade Reading.

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.”

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