Making the Grade |

Making the Grade

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Teresa Antunez

Teresa Antúnez moved to Summit County from her native Mexico in 1999 to give her daughters the opportunity to study in the United States. She works at Summit High School and Colorado Mountain College, translating for Spanish-speaking parents and students and interpreting for principals and teachers.Paraprofessionals like Antúnez provide critical help to classroom teachers throughout Summit County’s schools.Antúnez began her career in education 15 years ago as an English teacher for elementary, middle and high school students in Xalapa, Veracruz.Inspiration: My sixth-grade teacher was a great person. She made me feel comfortable, which helped me to understand different subjects. This inspired me to help students to find a better way to succeed in life.

Motivation: When I’m in a classroom, I feel like I did when I was a child: self-confident, motivated and inspired. Today, this helps me to understand kids.When I was working with Mr. Svorc in Introduction to Behavior Science and in Comparative World Systems with Mrs. Aguiar, there was something new every day, and I could see in the faces of the students that they were having fun.Philosophy: Making any kind of subject interesting. To help students stay interested, I use pictures, videos, collages and games. They help the students understand more quickly and easily.

Modern challenges: The toughest thing about being an educator is that, most of the time, students don’t understand we are trying to help them to a better future. Also, parents sometimes don’t like to accept it when their kids are in trouble, and they do not cooperate with us.Accomplishments: I consider my greatest accomplishment helping Latino people in another country to have better opportunities and to succeed. Also, showing people from this country that we don’t want to create problems. We want to be professional and help this county – we want to be part of the community.

Role models: Mohatma Gandhi, Lech Walesa and Martin Luther King, Jr. They always fought for their rights without violence.If I had $100,000: I would spend it on scholarships for foreign students and provide money for the various cultural education programs and diversity groups.Extracurricular: I like to walk by Dillon Reservoir. It makes me relax.

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