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Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight – Paula T.

Introducing our Ambassador Teacher alumna who is in the spotlight this month—Paula T.! Originally from Colombia, Paula started her adventure as an Ambassador Teacher in 2017 and graduated from the program in 2022. After five years of teaching in Union County, North Carolina, Paula is now back in Colombia, fueled by fresh ideas and enthusiasm to continue her teaching career. Join us as we hear from Paula about her experience and catch up on her latest endeavors.

Reflecting on her experience teaching in the U.S.

Q: What schools did you teach at and when?
A: From 2017 to 2022, I taught at Weddington Elementary in Union County, North Carolina. I got to work with a few different grade levels during my time as an Ambassador Teacher. During my first year, I was a co-teacher for a kindergarten class. Then I taught second grade for three years, and in my final year, I taught third grade.

Q: What inspired you to apply to teach in the U.S.?
A: I was inspired by my colleagues at my Colombian school where I worked before and after the Ambassador Teacher program. We had some incredible U.S. teachers who were part of our team there, and they taught me invaluable lessons and motivated me to become a better teacher and a better individual. Their influence led me to actively pursue opportunities to teach in the United States, and that’s when I discovered Participate Learning. I had the best experience I could have imagined!

Q: What did you enjoy most about your time teaching in the U.S.?
A: Learning, learning, and learning! There were so many opportunities to learn and grow professionally.
First, I loved learning from other teachers in my grade level and also through the professional development sessions that were offered by my school, district, and Participate Learning. Second, learning from the classes I took to further my education at UNC Charlotte. Lastly, learning from the parents and students in my school. The connections I made with the families, the students, and through the dual language team in my district, taught me so much and made the experience rich and rewarding.

What life looks like now

Q: Where are you now? Are you living in your home country or elsewhere in the world right now?
A: I am living in Calarca, Quindio, Colombia.

Q: Are you still working in education or have you changed career paths? Please tell us about your current job!
A: Currently, I am teaching first grade in an IB school, where I teach the subjects of Spanish and Social Studies.

Q: Do you have any other life updates that you would like to share with us and the Participate Learning Network?
A: Since returning home, I have been able to spend time reconnecting with my family. I also am virtually pursuing my teaching certificate in Spanish through UNC Charlotte.

Share 3-5 facts about your time teaching in the U.S. Think about favorite memories, travel experiences, special moments, accomplishments, or other things that happened during your time with the program.

  • I was named Teacher of the Month by our school’s PTO.
  • All my students in third grade passed their Math EOG!
  • One summer, my sister and mom took a fun road trip with me when they visited me from Colombia.
  • A true dream come true was being able to start my Spanish Teaching certification at a university in the U.S.
  • I got to experience virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interested in connecting with Paula and following her journey? Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

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