by Celestina Marinez
Former Pueblo student Ms. Imelda G. Cortez has returned to Pueblo to teach junior and senior English. As a 2009 high school graduate, Cortez began her collegiate career at the University of Arizona where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Mexican-American studies; later, she earned a Master’s degree in higher education.
Cortez explained that she decided to become a teacher while attending middle school. After attending Pueblo and graduating eight years ago in 2009, she definitely knew that she wanted to become a Warrior alumni.
“It’s [returning to Pueblo is] really like coming home,” Cortez said. “I feel like I’m returning the favor.”
She added that she hopes that all of her students will pass her class and earn their language arts credits in order to graduate from high school.
“I have to admit that I truly like all of my students this school year, and I can honestly say that I don’t have one bad class,” Cortez said.
This doesn’t mean that Cortez doesn’t have her fair share of teacher challenges.
“Finding content that is appealing to all students can be challenging,” she said. “Most of my students—not all—don’t seem to be interested in anything [at this time of the school year]. This makes teaching harder.”
She added that she has also learned that that treating students with dignity and respect is key to having a good relationship with them.
“Students reciprocate those actions [dignity and respect] with their teachers,” Cortez said. “I have also learned that it’s best to be as transparent as you can with students as opposed to making things up. One of my classroom agreements is: no one knows everything, but together we know a lot.”
Cortez also helps out with the “IAMME” Club—providing support and resources for what the students want to do for the club and school.
One of Cortez’ current students, senior Riana Lara, said, “I love being in Ms. Cortez’ English class because I’m able to speak my opinion and how she motivates and engages her students to complete all of the great activities that she assigns.”