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Roberto Ramos gives back to his community as a Spanish teacher in Porterville

Hannah Hepfer
BY Hannah Hepfer
Staff Writer
August 16, 2022
Roberto Ramos

Roberto Ramos ‘19 always knew he wanted to be a teacher. Born in Puerto Vallarta, he moved to the U.S. when he was nine-years old and is a DACA recipient. He says he was also the recipient of support from mentors and teachers who urged him to excel and pay his knowledge forward.

“Ever since I came to the U.S., [the message to me] was always, ‘You have to go to school, you have to go to college,’” he recalls. “It was never a case of, ‘What are you going to do after high school?’”

I truly know that they enjoy my class. When they come back on campus, they always say, ‘Remember when we did this project or this activity?’ — Roberto Ramos

His experience growing up as an English learner student contributed to his decision to become a Spanish teacher.

“I like to show my students that it’s a beautiful language and that they can learn different cultures and make comparisons to their own,” says Ramos, who has been a teacher for six years in the Porterville Unified School District.

After completing two years at Bakersfield College, he transferred to CSUB and majored in Spanish. A few years later, he opted to enroll in the Master of Arts in Education – Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) program – a choice he didn’t necessarily have to make, but wanted to.

“I could’ve kept teaching without a master’s degree, but I just wanted to make my family proud, especially my wife and son,” says Ramos, who also has three younger siblings and is the first person in his family to attend college.

He says the most challenging part was balancing his teaching responsibilities with the demands of the school workload.

“Being a student again, after a five-year gap, I had to learn to manage it. But once I got in the rhythm of it, it all came back naturally like I was back in college.”

The quality of the CSUB faculty confirmed to Ramos that he’d made the right choice in enrolling in the program.

“I have a lot of respect for the (CSUB) professors. They are there for you,” he says, specifically noting Dr. Alteparmakian (a.k.a. “Dr.A.”) as a standout for his
teaching style.

The C&I program gave Ramos the capacity to better assess and gauge student understanding as well as build rapport with them – from novice to advanced students alike.

“I tell them, ‘We are here to learn and there’s no wrong answer in here,’” he says. “I know what it’s like to learn a new language. If students can carry a conversation by the end of the school year, that’s all I ask for.”

Making a personal connection is vital and Ramos goes out of his way to ask how they’re doing, what their interests are, and attend their extracurricular activities such as games or plays.

“I let them know that I’m their teacher, but I also care for them as individuals.”

By doing that, he’s found that students are more productive and engaged.

“I truly know that they enjoy my class. When they come back on campus, they always say, ‘Remember when we did this project or this activity?’”

And Ramos may not be done with CSUB yet. He’s considering a second master’s degree – this time in Spanish – which could allow him to progress his career and teach at a community college. For now, he encourages anyone deliberating about entering the C&I program to jump in with both feet.

“Just go for it. You’re not going to regret it. Completing the program was one of the best decisions I’ve made.”