New freshman English teacher also has Hello Kitty collection

The Magnet Tribune: Emilia Vela
New Pre-AP English teacher Alma Valdez teaches during a recent second block class.

Emilia Vela, Staff Writer

Alma Valdez has learned patience during her 25 years of teaching.

“I’ve also learned that it’s very easy for the kids to not believe in themselves if we as a teacher don’t push them to believe in themselves. And I’ve also learned to truly believe in the fact that every day is a new day,” Valdez said.

“I mean, I strongly believe that if we make a mistake, if a kid behaves badly, you know very rude one day; the next day is a new day,” she said. “You know we take it as it comes. You can’t stay angry, you can’t stay mad or bothered by something. You have to move on.”

The new freshman Pre-AP English I teacher came from Christian Middle after 24 years there and was full of life and joy during a recent interview.

She teaches and learns from the new incoming students, she said.

Just after her first few weeks at VMT Valdez described her experience and the students here in a very positive manner.

“Here at VMT it is my first year but so far so good. The students are willing to learn, they’re motivating, they’re kind, they’re sweet, they’re respectful,” Valdez said.

This year is Valdez’s 25th year of teaching. It is a milestone that she is very happy to reach, she said, even as her retirement date approaches in just a few years.

This is what she had to say about her overall teaching experience.

“The first year was challenging just like any new teacher’s first year. But during the first years, you get to find out who you really are as a teacher and you learn a lot from your mistakes, but after that it’s been pretty much a breeze,” she said.

When Valdez chose to come to VMT she said she prayed a lot on the matter, but as it was her 25th year of teaching she felt she needed a change in scenery.

Ever since second grade Valdez has wanted to be a teacher. She said that her interest was first piqued because she loved to write on chalkboards, but by the time she became a teacher chalkboards had become obsolete.

“What I like most about my job is working with the students. That every day is something new, every day we have fresh experiences, we have eye opening experiences,” she said. “There’s no greater satisfaction than when you see your students actually learning something, and they show you that they understand what you’re teaching, and that it means something to them. That’s the best thing when it’s meaningful to them.”

Valdez said that during her teaching years there has been quite a few changes, technology-wise, to classrooms. When she was new to teaching there were no computers in the classrooms as well as no iPads. Now with the addition of iPads to teaching students are also use to using YouTube as well instead of the learning video channels on the news, she said.

I’ve also learned that it’s very easy for the kids to not believe in themselves if we as a teacher don’t push them to believe in themselves. And I’ve also learned to truly believe in the fact that every day is a new day.”

— Alma Valdez

In five years she hopes to see herself as retired and spending time with her mother and hopefully as a grandmother herself well involved in her future grandchildren’s lives.

Some of her interests include her vast collection of Hello Kitty memorabilia.

She said her collection started with a simple pencil when she was young. One of her cousins had also collected Hello Kitty items and Valdez said she had always found them cute. She never asked her parents to buy her a pencil because she felt it was too expensive during that time.

Her interest in Hello Kitty items branches from how cute she finds them, she said. She feels that they are for people who feel young at heart and have an attachment to them.

Her collection is not just made up of dolls; she also has a Hello Kitty toaster, pillows, lamp, pajamas, coin banks, slippers, water dispenser, toilet paper, and more, she said.

Valdez also has personalized Converse shoes. She said she buys shoes and then takes those to a tattoo artist who she has paint them with certain Hello Kitty designs.