March Dual Language Teacher of the Month: Ingrid Ruiz!
We are thrilled to share that Ingrid Ruiz, a proud international teacher from Colombia, South America is the March Dual Language Teacher of the Month. She has been involved in education for almost 20 years now!
My biggest influence in becoming an educator has always been my mom. She was the first teacher I met, and I would add that her wisdom, discipline and positive mindset influenced my career as an educator. These three principles (wisdom, discipline and positive mindset) were key aspects that made me decide to start a new educational adventure.
For that reason, she came to the United States with the Participate Program as a Cultural Exchange Teacher to teach and support English Language Learners and subsequently to be the Dual Language Kindergarten teacher at Spring Creek Elementary in Wayne County (NC). Her intrinsic motivation prompted her to create a website for her school’s culturally and linguistically diverse students. This website provides resources and activities that she uses in her classroom to enrich student learning and to provide additional classroom intervention and differentiation strategies to meet the needs of all of her students. The creation of this digital resource was the result of her previous research on language theories, methods of instruction, principles and techniques as part of her Masters in TESOL to enrich teaching and learning.
My favorite part of being a teacher is when I set thought-provoking goals that students can achieve, recognizing their accomplishments instead of emphasizing on their limitations, but also allowing them to have fun while learning through groundbreaking projects with high challenges that keep them motivated to continue exploring the world and expand their global perspective.
Besides keeping culture and motivation in her classroom, Ingrid challenges her students to “think out of the box” and use critical thinking skills. Therefore, the students know that the world is bigger than the place where they live right now!
If someone asks me what makes my classroom stand out, I will answer that my classroom has a colorful and inviting setting full of cultural displays, students’ artifacts and music, that make students and parents feel welcomed! Then, I feel satisfied when students go home and ask additional questions around them to enrich their knowledge of the lessons taught.
Just as family support is an important part of the school environment, Mrs. Ruiz believes school leadership has a big impact on the educational journey. She would describe her school and district leadership as supportive, culturally responsive, and respectful, which is critical to overall school and student success.
To Ingrid, the concept of Biliteracy means having a great opportunity to teach early literacy strategies of the bilingual processes through writing and reading in the academic languages that students are learning. For this reason, she finds it so important to expose students to different kinds of texts that are literary rich with cultural components embedded which reflect the value of biliteracy.
I think of the value of biliteracy as a key that opens my students’ brains to new and fascinating worlds. I hope to have an impact on my students with my own life testimony. I hope they understand the value of diversity in all contexts and become more culturally aware. In the future, I see my students as global leaders changing the world for good, being more respectful of other people’s cultural and linguistic backgrounds and modeling this respect in their communities and the rest of the world.