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Autobiographical Essay
Araseli Lopez
Instructor: Carol Billing
Educ 201: Foundations of Education
Fall 2014




Educational Background
My schooling began when I was five years old, in a small Mexican town called, San
Pedro Ixcatan, located in the state of Nayarit. Even though the population was and still is terribly
small (516 habitants), I can recall getting a good start in reading and writing in Spanish, from my
first grade teacher, Eva. I remember sitting in these old, huge wooden school desks, which I
shared with another classmate and copying from a chalk board, sentence after sentence in my
I can also remember creating colorful projects in class, such as a cutting out a Christmas
tree and writing down my name on it and learning traditional dances with my class, to perform
for our parents. I must admit that I was more advanced than my peers and I received constant
support from my teacher, Eva, as well as from my mother. My mother had been a teacher before
getting married and she constantly read to me and encouraged me to read and write more often.
Unfortunately, my education in Mexico ended shortly after I finished first grade, due to a sudden
move to the U.S in 1991.
Soon after my family arrived to the U.S., I started second grade at Park Ridge Elementary
School in the Nampa School District in Idaho. After I finished second grade, my family moved to
Caldwell, Idaho and I continued my education at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. In May
2010, I graduated from Caldwell Senior High School and a few months after, I started my first
semester at the College of Western Idaho.
Looking back at my elementary school years, I can remember having trouble with my
math and reading classes. Since I only knew how to read and write in Spanish, I had trouble
absorbing everything that was being taught to me during second and third grade. Learning



English as second language not only kept me in summer school but also in ESL classes until the
fourth grade.
Work History
The first time I started working, I was twelve years old. I joined my mother, as an
agricultural worker during cherry season in the summer. This was no surprise for someone my
age to work that young, especially since I come from a Mexican immigrant family. My duties
consisted of climbing a ladder, picking cherries and helping my mother fill up as many baskets
throughout the day. This was my way of earning money for school clothes. It was money made
by my hard work and the first time I knew how hard it was for anyone to make money in the
low-paid labor force.
The first official pay check I received was when I was sixteen. Again, I worked during
the summer season but this time in the corn fields. I remember working in 40-100 acre fields,
twelve hours a day, and seven days a week. We used the term "tassling" to describe this type of
job because "tassle" was what my managers would call a certain part of the corn plants that we
had to pull out in order for pollination to occur, which caused the actual corn to grow.
That type of job only lasted a month and ever since then, I have worked every year as a
field worker. Two years ago though, I began working at a McDonald's restaurant. I am what the
restaurant calls a "crew member". My duties include taking customers' orders, presenting food,
being a cashier, and some cleaning. Many people think it's an easy job, but it's very boring, not to
mention stressful. The good thing about working at a fast food restaurant is that I like to think
that I work for the public. People of all economic backgrounds, color, and personalities show up
on the daily.
Service and Extracurricular Activities



While being a junior and senior high school student, I had the opportunity to join two
clubs. One was the Key Club and it was mainly focused on helping out our community, by either
raking leaves or helping out with festivals and school events. The other was the Recycling Club
and although it was new to our school, we had enough members to help out recycle paper,
cardboard and plastic bottles. Although I felt that I was involved in my community, for my senior
year, one of the requirements for graduating was to volunteer. As a final project for all high
school seniors, it was required that we submit 20 hours of community service to our government
teachers. We had the entire school year to complete this assignment in order to graduate from
high school. After I was given permission to go ahead to volunteer in my own neighborhood, as
an after-school tutor, my daily routine became very interesting.
Even though, I did the same thing every day, which was come from school in the
afternoon and walk from my house to a little building called "La Escuelita" (little school), the
kids I helped out were wonderful. I was in charge of helping out third and fourth graders from 35pm, everyday with their math, reading and history homework.
At first, I must admit that I was very nervous, mainly because I was aware of my poor
math skills. I remember sixth graders coming to me, asking me to help them out, when I knew
that I wouldn't be able to help. Thankfully, my best friend Juan was an amazing math tutor. So
after a few incidents with the sixth graders, I only dedicated my time helping out third and fourth
graders with reading and history.
After two weeks of going everyday to the "La Escuelita", two fourth graders became very
attached to me. They were the first to run to my table and sit down so I could help them out. Not
only that, they would also talk about their day in school and sometimes talk about their personal
lives. I could say that having those two fourth graders as students in the after-school program



was more fulfilling than any experience I had as a senior in high school. They provided me the
motivation to go to college and become something great. Even though, at that moment I didn't
want to pursue a career as an elementary teacher, there was something about helping young
children and establishing a healthy and positive relationship with them that filled me with
My experience at La Escuelita helped me acquire 20 hours of community service but I
also exceed my 20 hours of community service and ended up volunteering for ten months. After
the school year was over, La Escuelita offered activities through the 4-H program from the
University of Idaho for summer vacations. It provided children with activities that encouraged
their creativity as well as kept them busy while their parents worked. I really enjoyed this
program because my passion for art and teaching have always gone hand-in-hand. I found this to
be exciting for me as well, since I had been part of this as a child and now I was able to instruct
children and have fun with them as well.
After high school, I have not done much since. I have only had time to go to school and
work. It's been four years since I volunteered in anything, until this semester. This semester I am
required to do 20 hours of service learning for a psychology course as well as 30 hours of
observation for my education 202 course. I think that my passion for teaching is being awaken
again but this time it's for good. I am now more aware of the resources available to me for
looking for volunteer opportunities and I am sure that I will take advantage of them.
Reasons for Choosing Education as a Career
During my senior year, while I was going through scholarship and college applications, I
decided that I was going to be a nurse. Instantly, I thought about the opportunity that I would



have available to me after I graduated from high school. I would go to college, graduate, have a
good paying job or so I thought.
After I graduated from high school, I had a couple of jobs, some which I enjoyed, and
others I disliked very much. My very first official job was working for a filter company, which
was temporary (three months) and paid me $8.00 an hour. I started that job in the summer and
worked until school started. After I was laid off, I dedicated my time in college but I found it to
be stressful since I really wasnt prepared for it. Then in the summer, I went onto working at Jack
in the Box for a month and decided that type of job wasnt for me. I found it to be tiring and
boring. Now, two years later I finally settled down at McDonalds. What an amazing transition,
The real transition for me though, came in around the same time. I found nursing to be
boring, and although the pay was good, I found myself not seeking any opportunities to work in
that field. My younger sister became a certified nursing aide before I even chose to do so. I just
decided that it wasnt for me. Most of the time I was distracting myself from school by hanging
out with family and friends and ignoring any homework that I had to do. For the mean time, I
just kept taking math courses and more math courses.
It was during the end a fall semester, when I was deciding on what courses to take for
spring that I came across a math course for elementary teachers. My experience was alright. I
didnt enjoy it, but I didnt hate it either. I just took it because it was required for my elementary
education major. That was the beginning of a cycle, where I just took one hundred level course
after course for my elementary education major but didnt get any satisfaction from them. That
was the first time, I thought to myself that maybe I wasnt good at anything, that maybe I really
didnt have a passion that I could consider as a career.



Four years later, still attending a two-year college and now taking two hundred level
courses, I can honestly say I have found the career that I have looking for all along. I just started
taking an education course that allows me to observe classrooms and learn what it actually takes
to be a great elementary education teacher. I can say that challenge is what I was looking for. I
was looking for a challenge to my fear of speaking in public, I was looking for a challenge to
somehow make a positive influence on a child and I was looking for a challenge to discipline
Professional Goals
As of now, graduating from college has been my long-term goal. It's been almost four
years, since I started at CWI and although it has taken me a while to get my associate's degree, I
have kept myself motivated to get to where I am now. I had trouble deciding what my future
career was going to be at the beginning of this long course but since I started this semester with
an open mind to new challenges and experiences, I found myself being more interested in
pursuing a career as a future educator.
Another long-term goal of mine, is to transfer to Boise State to get my bachelor's degree,
either after I graduate from CWI or this upcoming year. I think that I am ready to take on bigger
challenges like moving away from home and becoming more independent. I am also interested in
building a social network in Boise, mainly because it is a bigger city than Caldwell.
My last long-term goal that ties in perfectly with building a social network is my desire to
help my community in some educational form. Coming from a Mexican immigrant family, I
know that one key to success is education and therefore, I would love to be involved in small
communities in Caldwell, Nampa, Wilder and Marsing and target young teenagers and teach



them the importance of education. I think that my image and my background could help them
identify with me and realize that they have support to pursue a college education.
I know that these long-term goals won't be achieved easily and the first step is to plan
short-term goals. So what are my short term goals? For this semester, I plan to pass all my
courses and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. Another short term goal of mine is to join the Future
Educator's Club. I recently saw some of the upcoming dates for events that the club will be
planning for 2015 and I am excited to provide ideas and volunteer my time to learn new things. I
know that being involved will give me an insight on what it's like to be a leader, a good leader
most of all. Not only do I see it as an opportunity to enhance my social skills but also help me
with becoming more comfortable speaking in public, which is a great skill for any teacher.
The last short-term that I have, regarding my long-term goal for helping out my
community, is being a volunteer for an organization called CCJ (Centro de Comunidad y
Justicia), which translates to Center for Community and Justice. This organization has started out
very small and seems to be growing this year. It is an organization that teaches young Latino
teenagers the importance of building healthy relationships and provides an education on safe sex.
For me, providing the young students with information like that can help them be informative
about things that affect them and their future. I also think that joining this organization will
provide me better teaching skills.
As a future elementary educator, I hope to use my previous knowledge as a field worker,
fast food restaurant worker and as a volunteer to teach and build positive relationships with
students in order to motivate them to finish high school and hopefully college.