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Teacher Spotlights

Teaching Excellence Teacher Spotlight: Marcela Rodriguez

What organization do you work for?

YES Prep West

What grade-level and subject do you teach?

I teach 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th graders in the Learning Lab.

Where did you attend college and in what did you major?

I graduated from the University of Houston with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology.

What is the best part of teaching? What is the most difficult part of teaching?

The best part of teaching is playing such an influential role in the lives of my students. Their minds are really like sponges that absorb every single thing they see and hear. Knowing that my students learn from watching and listening to me is amazing! Also, being able to work with students who are determined to succeed motivates me to give my best every day so that I can support them and help them achieve their goals.

The most difficult part of teaching is successfully differentiating. Sometimes it’s a challenge, because what works for one student does not necessarily work for another student.

Describe a successful teaching strategy that you use in the classroom. How does this impact your students’ achievement?

This is not necessarily a strategy, but something that I always do in my classroom is to give students the chance to express themselves. As a special education teacher, building positive relationships with my students is crucial, and I have successfully achieved this by allowing students the opportunity to be heard as they express their feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Allowing students the opportunity to participate and express themselves has allowed me to know more about each of my students.

What 3 words would you use to describe the experience of participating in Teaching Excellence?

Rewarding, Empowering, and Inspiring

When you are not working on closing the achievement gap, what do you enjoy doing?


I love spending time with my family, whether it is eating out, going bowling, or just staying home watching TV. As long as I’m with my family, it’s all good!

If you could create a t-shirt with a slogan that represents your philosophy of education, what would it say and why?

“When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.” – Dalai Lama

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