10:30 AM

UHCL alumna is Alvin ISD Paraprofessional of the Year

Esther Jimenez said that her journey to becoming an elementary school teacher has felt like forever, but after her graduation this month from University of Houston-Clear Lake with her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with Bilingual Concentration, her dreams are finally coming true.

Prior to beginning her teaching internship, Jimenez was working as a paraprofessional at Melba Passmore Elementary School in Alvin Independent School District. In the last year, she did both her job as a paraprofessional and her teaching internship — and her school rewarded her dedication to her students by naming her Paraprofessional of the Year.

"We had to find a way to make it work with my job and the internship," she said. "I had a lot of professors who worked with me and I was supported at the elementary school by the teachers."

Jimenez said she'd begun her academic journey believing she'd like to study social work. "I became more passionate about having a daily impact and interaction with kids, so I thought teaching would be a better option," she said. "I'm bilingual, so I decided to make the most of it with my degree."

She already had a job lined up at McWhirter Elementary School in Clear Creek Independent School District. "My professors were the reason I branched out to that school, because some of them were teachers there," she said. "And once, the principal of the school, Michael Marquez, came and spoke to my class. He's a UH-Clear Lake Distinguished Alumnus. That's how I knew I would be in the right place."

She said she was excited to participate in the Teacher Induction Ceremony that took place on May 11, a commencement tradition in the College of Education in which teacher candidates are celebrated and their professors commit to remaining vested in their success beyond UHCL.

"It's so exciting to know I'll be a teacher," she said. "It's taken a long time. I'm very impatient. I just want to be in the classroom."

To find out how to begin your journey into the classroom, go online.