Showing up for students so they know their voices matter. Learn more on Diana Rodriguez's why.
“I Knew It Would All Be Worth It”: Yazmin Gil’s Story
How did you decide to pursue teaching as a career?
I owe a lot the ELL para[educator] who helped me get an internship teaching Spanish my senior year in high school. Roxy Garca believed in me. Against all odds, in a system that wasn’t challenging me, she went out of her way to advocate for me. She made things happen.
When and how did you get certified as a teacher?
I earned my teaching credential from City University in 2008, eight years I started out taking evening at Heritage University, while working as a bilingual para[educator]. At times, I had to take a break and work extra hours to save up enough to cover tuition for for my next class. It wasn’t easy but I kept going because I knew it would all be worth it.
What kept you going during stressful times?
I had amazing coworkers and peers and mentors all along the way. People believed in me, pushed me to try new things — like the time I spoke at a statewide conference of school administrators. I didn’t see myself as a leader, but my principal did. I kept thinking, ‘My English isn’t good enough … my accent … I’m just a para.’ But she helped me practice my lines. I rehearsed with my co-presenters, and we got to feel a part of a community that believed in us professionally.
What are some other steps you’ve taken to advance your career?
I’m always looking for opportunities to understand and change the system outside the classroom. One year, I served on a language arts curriculum adoption committee. It was an opportunity to learn how the system works so I can make a bigger impact. I also went back to school for a master’s in instructional leadership. And I’ve learned a lot from my peers and mentors in the Educators of Color Leadership Community.
Speak Your Language
The demand for multilingual teachers in our classrooms continues to grow, and our students are waiting for you!
Learn more about:
- Future Bilingual Teaching Fellows, a partnership between Western Washington University Highline School District.
- University of Washington’s Elementary Teacher Education Program (UW-ELTEP) and Accelerated Certification for Teachers (U-ACT), which both support bilingual teachers and are actively pursuing increased funding for scholarships.
- Bilingual Educator Initiative grants are available through Recruiting Washington Teachers, a high school teacher academy aimed at developing future teachers who more closely reflect the diverse demographics of today’s students.
Learn how Glenn Jenkins made the switch from telecommunications engineer to teacher in his early 40s, when he and his wife were about to have their first child.
Learn why Glenn Jenkins made the switch from telecommunications engineer to teacher in his early 40s, when he and his wife were about to have their first child.
Read more about Alex’s pathway from high school teacher academy to paraeducator to certified teacher
Once a student in high school teacher academy, now a mentor. Learn more about Alex Castro-Wilson's why.
Read about Tenea Jones' story on her educational pathway towards becoming an assistant principal at TAF@Saghalie 6-12, Federal Way Public Schools.
Read about how Tenea Jones, Assistant Principal at TAF@Saghalie 6-12, Federal Way Public Schools got a seat at the table, putting youth voices first.
Read about Yazmin Gil's story on how she pursued teaching as a career.
Read about Yazmin Gil's why and how "Bilingualism is an Asset"
Read about Ahmad Tirhi's story in pursuing teaching as a career.
Ahmad Tirhi grew up in Federal Way, the son of immigrants, proud of his Palestinian heritage, fluent in Arabic. He never had any teachers who looked like him until college.