Bright Spots / Celebrating Excellent Educators: Evelyn Serratos

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Bright Spots

Celebrating Excellent Educators: Evelyn Serratos

In our ongoing work to develop a skilled workforce in Dallas County that can command living wages, it’s important to celebrate the educators who make it possible.

Evelyn Serratos graduated from Dallas College’s Child Development/Early Childhood Education program in December 2023. Dallas College was the first community college in the state to offer a bachelor’s degree in education, and the college works closely with several Dallas County school districts to recruit local students to teach in the same schools they attended. Serratos, for example, graduated from Dallas ISD and is now teaching first grade in the area.

Her story highlights several key aspects of our work: the importance of high-quality early childhood education, the value of community colleges in preparing a skilled workforce and the innovative ways public school systems and higher education institutions can come together to encourage emerging educators to serve their own school communities.

Tell us about yourself and your family.

I’ve been in Dallas ISD my whole life. I started at JFK Learning Center, moved to Kiest [Elementary] and then after that went to Gaston Middle School and Bryan Adams High School. I always wanted to lead. I would tell my siblings, “I'm the teacher, and you're gonna listen to me.” My dad says I would always try to help our younger brother with his homework.

My first language is Spanish, but I was never really taught English. I was always in bilingual classes. Then in middle school the environment was so different because there were no more bilingual classes. I had to catch up.

My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Antonier, [made a big difference in my life by] showing me that she cared for me. [She] made me want to do the same [and become a teacher].

How was your experience at Dallas College?

When I went to [Dallas College’s Eastfield campus], I finished my associate, and they said we are starting a bachelor program for education. This was very convenient - I didn’t have to look for another school. It made it easy for me because it is nearby.

I remember my infants and toddlers classes the most. Our professor had us observe certain age groups, and I felt like I was being engaged in a different way. They really supported us in finding different classes to observe at different schools, especially for those of us who weren’t already teaching.

Overall, economically and career-wise, it was a smooth transition. I did my student teaching here at my current campus. I already knew everybody, so I just talked to my principal and she told me there was a class open.

How does your family feel about you teaching now?

My sister was always supportive. Also, all my friends are teachers. And my dad is supportive too because he sees how I talk about my kids. He asks, “Aren’t you drained? You have to talk for eight hours without many breaks.” But I love it. I wake up in the morning and think, “What will today be like?” Every day is a new day with my students. It's never the same day. Never.

And when they make little comments like, "Miss Serratos, I love coming to school because of you!" or “I saw this and thought of you!" I just think, wow. Those other jobs I did before this were not giving me that inspiration to get up and work.

How would you describe your approach to teaching?

I want to be that teacher that takes time to see what you're learning – if you're learning – and see if you're struggling somewhere. Then [my students] can say, "Thanks to Miss Serratos, I can do second grade, even if it's harder,” and so on.

If I am a teacher that they love, that is caring, and I take my time to show what I love, I am giving them a foundation.

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