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Nathania Cortes
October 7, 2021

Gate of Opportunity Scholar Embraces Role as High School Teacher

Nathania Cortes ’22 is just beginning her senior year but already feels prepared to embrace life after graduation. A wide range of experiences gained through the competitive merit- and work-based Gate of Opportunity Scholarship helped her define a career path as a high school English teacher.

“Being a Gate Scholar, I have had plenty of time to explore jobs on campus,” she says. “I've worked in human resources, as a teacher's assistant at the South Rome Early Learning Center and at the Department of Public Health. I'm trying a new job this semester teaching in ESL classes. I've loved getting to explore different jobs during my time at Berry to help me think about different opportunities available to me after graduation.”

During her sophomore year, Nathania discovered her passion in a teacher education class — helping high school students find their way. “I remember learning about the different challenges and reasons people turn away from being a teacher, but I thought it would still be worth it if I could positively impact some students' lives,” she says. “My high school English teacher did that for me.”

This year, Nathania is getting hands-on experience as a student teacher in a 10th-grade world literature class: “I am learning about classroom management and how to make engaging lesson plans for students. … I prepare myself every day by recognizing that all the books and practices I know do not guarantee the classroom will run smoothly. Each day is a learning process, and I can only expect myself and my teacher to do our best.”

Wherever she teaches after graduation, Nathania is ready to apply what she learned at Berry to her lesson plans. “Work has helped me prepare for life by helping me learn what it means to be a true leader," she says. "With my tutoring job at the Open Door Children’s Home, I have learned about some of the challenges students face outside the classroom, and I will certainly keep this in mind when I have a classroom of my own one day.”

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