Biridiana ‘Birdie’ Rodriguez

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At that moment, I decided that I could be that resource for children in Durham- a resource that recognized the full potential in all my students despite their language barriers and empowered them to chase their dreams.

 

Why did you become a teacher?

As a first-year college student I volunteered in a local Durham elementary school translating documents for a 2nd grade classroom. Throughout that experience I witnessed the disconnect between the Latino households and the school because students and families did not have the resources needed to be successful. I saw the stark contrast between my students’ experience and my own experience in the LA Unified School District where my mother would not hesitate to reach out to teachers because she was able to speak to them in Spanish. At that moment, I decided that I could be that resource for children in Durham- a resource that recognized the full potential in all my students despite their language barriers and empowered them to chase their dreams.

Why are you excited about KIPP opening a school in Durham?

I’m thrilled that KIPP is coming to Durham and bringing a renewed energy in serving students for whom the odds are not in their favor. The team at KIPP Durham knows that “a lot” and “most” isn’t enough. While KIPP ENC Public Schools has achieved a graduation rate 7x the national average for students of low-income communities, we know there is more work to be done. I am excited that KIPP is coming to Durham and joining the fight to ensure that all students, no matter the odds, are successful in college and beyond.

What is a piece of advice you would give to aspiring teachers?

Teaching is the most important career and when it gets tough, you must be patient and remember why you’re in the classroom. The fruit of our hard labor may not be immediate, but it will blossom with time and dedication.