Chris Garcia

M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, Preliminary Multiple Subject Credential

About Me

I was born and raised in San Diego but I moved a lot within the county. However, in my senior year in high school, my family wanted to move to Texas to start a church. During my observations at the public schools in Texas the question, "Why are people the way they are?" was very intriguing to me. That began my desire to make a difference in the lives of people in general, so I decided to move back to San Diego (along with my family). I attended community college in Chula Vista, then I transferred to UC Davis to finish up my last two years.

I graduated UC Davis in 2010 with my bachelors in Sociology and Music, and stayed an extra year to work with students in a non-profit ministry known as Chi Alpha. Then I knew that it was time to come to San Diego, considering that I had been accepted to USD! Thus, I started a week after I moved down and haven't stopped! I currently work in the Chula Vista Elementary School District as a substitute teacher. I also teach piano lessons on the side, while doing a little bit of graphic designing too.

Why do you want to work in the field of education?

I was one of those students in elementary school that had a parent teacher conference every other week. Yet, those were the most formidable years of my life that really shaped who I am today. With so much students out there who are having issues at home, struggling with their identity, I want to be that form of encouragement both academically and socially. In addition, I love teaching and knowing that I'm living my calling while making a difference today that will impact tomorrow.

Tell us about your practicum and student teaching for your Multiple Subject Credential through SOLES.

My practicum experiences included working with a 1st grade class (requires a lot of energy) and a 5th grade class (need some street smarts for this grade level), yet I enjoyed both experiences a lot. I have also student taught through USD at a dual language school for a 2nd grade class. My master teacher was great, along with my supervising administrator from USD (who happened to be my former elementary school principal... go figure). These experience both show you first hand what the career is like, and the beauty of it is that you can take what you like and what you don't like. Practica allow you to gain experience and develop your own teaching style.

Have you done any research through SOLES?

I am currently researching how mobile technology will be used in the classroom, specifically for language learners or students who need support with literacy. I'm in the middle of preparing my proposal and researching previous theories and projects. The independent study programs here allow you to almost become your own professor, yet while working closely with an actual faculty member. I needed an extra class this past summer, and the idea of having a flipped classroom (check out this site for more information) was very appealing. So I spent part of my summer researching how these lecture style videos were being very helpful within the secondary school system, yet not much practice or research had been done for the primary schools. I was able to create some classroom lectures myself. This opportunity allowed me to learn the process of taking lesson plans beyond the normal classroom setting.

Have you participated in international experiences through SOLES?

I've taken advantage (and I'll continue to do so) of the many international experiences here at SOLES. I started it by visiting Kenya during the summer of 2012. I was working (along with another ambassador, Annie Reyes) on modeling to teachers how iPads could be integrated within their lectures. We also brought iPod touches for the Form 1 (Freshmen) students. It was amazing visiting Africa for the first time and empowering the teachers/students with modern technology that is very brand new to the entire world. Check out our class blog.

In addition, I'll be going with the School of Leadership to Guatemala in January 2013. I'm excited to work and learn from a different department in SOLES.

Which class impacted you the most?

I would say that the class that impacted me the most was my student teaching. I was surprised and impressed to see how current the professors here in SOLES are so up-to-date with what is really happening in the classroom. They knew all the new philosophies, ideas, and concepts that were being discussed during staff development my school I was teaching at.

This class had a modern and current impact to my daily routines and interactions among my students, parents, co-teachers, and administrators. Having that support from the SOLES faculty was amazing and I could go to my student teaching placement with full confidence too.

Are there specific SOLES faculty that have contributed to your success?

I have to shout out Dr. Bobbi Hansen, she has been my professor and my current advisor. There have been some confusing and times that I didn't know what career decisions I was going to make, yet her character, patience, and wisdom have always uplifted me to make the right decision. Also, my university supervisor Charlie Padilla (and former principal) has gone above and beyond in not only assessing my performance as a student teacher but also advice on being a role model on and off the field of education.

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan on applying to teaching positions in the urban areas of California (or anywhere in the world really). I'm ready to get into the classroom and start making a difference and seeing progress within my students and their families!

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

Make sure that your heart is in what you want to do. If your heart is not in what you want to do, then it'll be a frustrating time at grad school. The work load isn't easy, but when you know that this is what you're called to do, you won't give up, you won't give in, and you'll keep fighting to make sure that your dreams come true. Nothing in this life is just handed to you, and if it is... then where's the heart?

This is an archived student profile, which was written by Chris in the 2012-2013 academic year. Chris, who was a SOLES Student Ambassador, graduated from the program in 2013. Congratulations, Chris!