The 2018-19 school year has ended, with the next one just around the corner. It’s been another great year for ATPE, thanks to all of you. With summer upon us, that also means it’s our last Volunteer of the Month for the year.
Without further ado, meet June’s Volunteer of the Month, Hilda Martinez of La Joya ATPE!
What is your job title? Where do you work? How long have you been in this role?
I am a substitute teacher for Rio Grande City CISD and Mission CISD. I am also an interventionist for La Joya ISD, for a grant they have through the University of Houston Health and Science. I have been doing this for the last 13 years. I also taught at the elementary and secondary level for 10 years.
How long have you been an ATPE member? Why did you choose ATPE?
I have been an ATPE member for 12 years. I was approached by ATPE member Norma Vega when I started substituting in La Joya. I had been with AFT and never got any information from them, and the day I needed them, they were not there for me. I chose ATPE because I have peace of mind knowing they have my back and because many people have shared their experiences and I was convinced that it is here at ATPE that I belong. When I speak to others about ATPE, I always tell them about ATPE’s protection benefits* and the many discounts and services educators can use to recoup their yearly dues. I am active in my local unit and region because I believe that all educators deserve to have the same peace of mind that I enjoy as a member.
What made you want to be an educator?
I became an educator because I admire many of my former teachers. It is because of them that I got to where I am now. Many of them defined my love for teaching and making a difference in the lives of others. I had originally signed up to be a psychology major, but in the long run felt that I wanted to be in the classroom and switched majors my sophomore year. I did later get my master’s degree in counseling and guidance.
What advice would you give to a new educator coming into your position?
I would advise them that they be willing to learn from others and to know that this career may not be well paid, yet it is the most rewarding career in the world. I tell them that they need to be ready to laugh, cry, and build experiences with their students so that the students come back one day, proud of the part the educator played in their lives.
Share your favorite moment as an educator.
My favorite moment as an educator was when I was teaching the recent immigrant program in Roma ISD back in 1996. I was able to take my students on a trip to SeaWorld, an experience I and my students would have never had if it weren’t for the will and determination of my efforts in convincing my superintendent and principal at the time. Most of my kids were undocumented, and if this trip didn’t happen, they would never experience going to a theme park in their young lives. The look on their faces was priceless.
Want to learn more about this program or have questions about how you can be an ATPE volunteer? Email our volunteer program coordinator, Anna Belle Burleson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Eligibility, terms, and conditions apply. Visit atpe.org/protection for details. Staff attorney services are provided through a program separate from the professional liability insurance policy.