The Beat has interviewed master teachers across the district to share their stories and introspections about their careers, including tips for teaching. Meet Master Teacher José Ramos-Villicaña.
José Ramos-Villicaña, a master teacher at Stevens Park Elementary School, first came to Dallas ISD in 2006. He was living in the city of Monterrey, Mexico, when he learned about the district’s Alternative Certification Program. When representatives from recruitment were in his city, he decided to apply—and a year and a half later, he began teaching in the district.
Fast forward 18 years and he is happy that he made this leap of faith to find his calling as a teacher in Dallas.
What drew you to education?
I was contacted by a friend who was already working as a teacher in Dallas. I had heard how rewarding this profession could be, and when the opportunity presented itself to apply to teach in Dallas, I thought, why not? Even though my professional background was in a completely different field, I knew teaching was something I wanted to try out.
How are you creating opportunities for your students?
I like to get to know my students as much as I can. I find out what they are passionate about and I try to incorporate their ideas and interests into the overall classroom culture. This helps to get them motivated about their learning. I believe when students are genuinely motivated, they have a better chance of showing all they can accomplish.
What is your best teaching tip?
Be clear about your expectations and allow time for relationship-building during the school year.
What would your student be surprised to find out about you?
They would probably be surprised that I could not speak a single word of English when I was their age. Also, there is virtually no vegetable I don’t like!
What inspires you the most about being an educator?
Seeing the big impact I can make in the lives of my students is what inspires me the most.