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The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

The Student News Site of Santa Rosa Academy

The Lasso

Becoming Mr. Perez

Science Teacher Justin Perez demonstrates an egg drop project!

Though he is a teacher now, Justin Perez originally didn’t go to college with teaching in mind. Starting college as an Engineering major, Perez continued his studies at University of California San Diego for a year and a half. During that time, he took a few engineering classes before he realized it wasn’t for him.

“I had this image of what engineering was thanks to movies, social media, and stuff, kind of like how every engineer thought they’d become the next Iron Man. I slowly realized it’d probably just be me sitting at a desk, behind a computer all of the time and that’s not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

After Perez discovered that engineering was not something he saw himself continuing, he took a few years to decide what he wanted to do in regards to his career. He went a long time without considering that teaching could become something he would be passionate about. Looking back he noticed that he did show some interest in the profession in high school.

“In High School I was kind of the tutor for everybody, I knew what was going on in all subjects. When we would have to study for our AP tests, it would usually lead to me pulling out a white board and doing some example problems for everyone before the test. I already had a lot of teachers in my life that if i ever became a teacher, i would totally model their behavior or do things in my classroom the way they did for me.”

With these thoughts in mind, he decided to take a step in the direction towards the teaching profession. Perez reapplied for a teaching program at Western Governors University. WGU offered a dual credential program which was appealing to Perez as it allowed him to get both his credential and bachelors at the same time. The next step in the process of becoming a teacher after obtaining your degrees and credentials was the real deal, the student teaching program.

Student Teaching is a learning experience for beginner teachers before they complete their final year of college and are ready to put what they’ve learned to the test. Student teachers intern in a classroom under the supervision of a certified teacher while they make lesson plans, interact with students, and learn to manage a classroom. The program usually lasts about 14-16 weeks, which is about one school semester. The next step for student teachers after completing the program is to find a teaching job!

Justin Perez starting his student teaching at Paloma High School in Menifee.

“As far as programs go, you learn a lot about the job in the college teaching program you take. But a majority of the real job training is in the student teaching. It’s basically a very intensive, full time teaching job for a semester under your teaching preparation program. You were prepared once you left that program.”

All teachers feel differently about their experiences with student teaching. For Perez, his experience was a little difficult since this process of becoming a teacher and the idea of even teaching a full class of students in general was still so new to him.

“It was overwhelming at times, very tough to kinda just jump in there because a lot of programs just throw you in there. They definitely don’t let you drown but they let you learn how to swim, so it was tough. Once you get the hang of it, it’s very rewarding and you find out what teaching is really like.”

Finding out what teaching was really like was eye opening for Perez. It made him want to continue working hard in the process and walk out as a teacher in the end. As of now, he has been teaching the subjects anatomy, biology, and physics at Heritage High School for two years.

“Being a teacher now is great! The first couple of years are of course a little more challenging. I remember being so nervous those first days. Every year you get more and more serious, more resources, and you learn to lean on your professional learning community. The students are pretty awesome too, I’ve got some great characters in my classes. So now, it’s still not without some minor challenges but it’s all very rewarding. If you are going to be a teacher, make sure it’s something you want to do and it’ll be exactly what you want to get out of it.”

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About the Contributor
Alina Abbott
Alina Abbott, Social Media Editor
Alina Abbott is a senior who attended SRA since 7th grade and a kind-hearted individual who enjoys a good nap, crocheting, frogs, and the finer things in life. Such as Cafe Rio burritos and Thanksgiving dinners. Alina's future goals include going to college, focusing on medical studies, and traveling to Japan to find onigiri. As a family-oriented, goofy, and caring individual, she is always willing to help and as she likes to say “live más”   
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