Meet the Teacher...
Degrees and Certifications:
Hi! This is Mr. Martinez's home page. This year I'm teaching 6th & 7th grade Science in room 116 @ Brentwood Middle School.
Well, this is the latest updated version of my resume. Here are some details.
I joined the Navy right out of high school. Many of the jobs I did in the Navy require a college degree "on the outside". That was both exhilarating and a little disappointing. On the positive side, I built up an impressive skill set in a wide variety of settings. Which is good; I need to do different things from time to time or I get bored. I found that the Navy was perfect for a guy like me... but my new wife wasn't so happy, so I had to find something else to do with myself. I worked a lot of jobs while attending college to get a degree in Nursing. A couple of semesters I had to quit college in order to work full-time and do more to help pay the bills. It turned a four-year degree into a nine-year project!
In the middle of all this came Operation: Desert Storm. I was in the Navy Reserves; I was called up and I spent a few months floating around in the Persian Gulf. Not a big deal, except that I missed a couple of semesters of college, and I had to wait another couple of semesters before I would be allowed to take a few classes required for my nursing degree. However, I couldn't afford to wait; there were still all these bills to pay. (They never seem to go away.)
I talked to a college counselor, who suggested teaching. Not my first choice. My aunt and uncle are retired teachers. (They both taught more than 35 years in SAISD.) They tried to talk me out of it. Unless you get some personal satisfaction out of the experience, they warned me, teaching is far more frustrating than rewarding. And who would want to keep coming to a job they hated? Not me!! Still, I was intrigued. I have long known that working with middle school children is particularly challenging for most teachers. [Personally, I think that this is the age (11-13) when human beings are just beginning to be interesting.] I wondered if I could handle it. Would I like it? Would it be absorbing, or boring? And I hate being bored!!
I took a battery of tests, but I must admit I didn't try very hard. I was simply curious; I had other options I was considering. Surprisingly, it turns out that the psychological / personality testing showed that I am adept at handling all the details that go along with teaching. In other words, juggling the kids and the paperwork is a pain, but I'm the sort of person who can manage it successfully without having a breakdown. So I thought: "This doesn't seem like a big deal. And I need a job. Hey, I can always quit and do something else if I find out I don't like it, right?"
Well, eighteen years later I can honestly say that the job is much more difficult than I thought it would be. It takes a heavy toll on the mind and the heart, and standing all day in one small area is hard on the legs and feet, as any barber or beautician can tell you. To my surprise, I found that I'm good at teaching -- at evaluating a child's needs and then getting across the necessary concepts. (I'm not saying I am the best in the world, nor am I suggesting that I can't be better; there are many excellent teachers at Brentwood. Every year I learn something new from them!)
But here's the big payoff: I definitely gain some personal satisfaction from it. Yes, sometimes teaching a class can be very frustrating... it's a battle with time, the paperwork, and sometimes the student, but the moment, the very second a student looks up with that expression... the spark in their eyes that says: "I got it! I understand!" That's food for my soul. Taking an idea, a fact, or a concept from my mind, and transplanting it into a child's mind -- nurturing it and watching it grow -- this is a very special thing. In a very real sense, when a child leaves my room at the end of the year they are taking a microscopic piece of me with them. They are my legacy to the world.
A couple of my college professors had pushed me to continue my education and teach at the college level, but I couldn't afford to do that, and now I'm glad I didn't. That would probably be a lot more boring than teaching at a middle school. At Brentwood, there's always some drama brewing!
ANYWAY... even after I had my degree and I passed all the Texas certification tests, I still couldn't land a job as a teacher. (Interviewing & applying for teaching jobs is a subject worthy of an essay all by itself.) I substituted at different schools in the Northside ISD, but that doesn't pay much. I still had to deal with a large amount of debt, so I abandoned the idea of teaching and took a course to learn how to drive those big 18 wheelers. That's when I started making some serious money!! This was more than eighteen years ago, but I was bringing home over $1,000 a week (after taxes) and I only needed a high school diploma and a CDL (Commercial Driver's License). Hey, I don't make that much now with a college degree, teaching for over 18 years!
My experiences emphasize some basic truths:
(a) You don't have to go to college to be successful, but......
(b) All occupations require some sort of training; the higher the pay; the more training (and probably education) you will be required to have. (Unless you can land a gig like walking Madonna's pet poodle around Beverly Hills... a leash in one hand and a poopy bag in the other. Oh yeah.)
(c) Hard work isn't usually much fun, but it ALWAYS earns results.
(d) You should always have a plan and a goal, yet stay flexible. Nobody but God controls everything. Be open to new possibilities.
In six months working for Schneider Trucking (the big orange trucks) I paid off most of my bills, and I had seen and learned a lot of new things. It was a great experience! But I missed my family -- I was home only two or three days every three or four weeks. (My daughters were only 8 and 12 y/o then -- they were growing up and I was missing it.) So, I quit that job, came home, and applied for a position as a Via bus driver. While I waited to hear about that I was invited to a teacher-hiring seminar. I really wasn't interested, but my wife insisted so I went, and had four job offers inside of a half hour!! Two were in Houston, one was north of Dallas, and then the offer from Edgewood ISD, teaching English (8th grade) at Wrenn Middle School. The rest, as they say, is history.
More about the Teacher...
1989-1996 -- University of Texas at San Antonio
B.A. in English
· Certified to teach English, grades 6-12
· Certified to teach Science, grades 4-8
1998- Present -- Teacher
♦ Taught Science 6-7th grades for four years.
♦ Taught Reading in 6th – 8th grades x 5 years
♦ Taught Science for 6th grade for two years
♦ Taught ELAR (English) x3 years
♦ Taught English at the high school level, 9th – 12th grades, for three years
♦ 1998 JAN achieved a class A, commercial driver’s license (CDL). Drove a tractor-trailer for six months before being hired as a teacher
· 1996-1997 worked as a substitute teacher
· 1989-1996 worked at a variety of jobs to pay for college, including Emergency Room Orderly, Car Salesman, Security Guard, etc.
· 1988-1992 United States Navy Reserve; took part in Operation Desert Storm aboard USNS Comfort, a hospital ship poised in the Persian Gulf; Honorably Discharged
· 1988 Hospital Admitting Clerk, Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, CA
· 1986-1988 Medical Supply Tech, Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, CA
· 1980-1986 United States Navy, Hospital Corpsman, E-5, specialized in Preventive Medicine; Honorably Discharged
Bicycling, reading, video games, camping