CalTeach Science & Math Program Major Carlos Infante has received the 2017-2018 President's Educator Fellowship, presented by Master Teacher Therese Shanahan on November 7, 2017.
About Carlos Infante
I came to the United States as an immigrant in July 1997. Growing up, I never knew what I wanted to do with my future. Coming from a low-income community, my parents always pushed me to do well inside and outside of school. Then, finishing my senior year in high school, I knew what was ahead of me. I was going to UCI, undecided with what I was going to study.
Those last couple of weeks in high school I learned that most of my friends were not going to continue with school. Most of them had already found jobs and were going to work full-time after they graduated. They told me they had no interest in going to college. That was when I thought to myself, “What went wrong for them to make this decision? They are born in this country and have the opportunity, whereas I, who am an immigrant, would not be in the situation if it was not for the Cal Dream Act. Did they not have anyone to motivate them to like school?” I knew that they were great people and for them not to want to go to college shocked me. Some of them did not have good grades but did not even take into consideration going to community college. At that moment, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher.
How can kids with great potential not want to further their education? It only takes one teacher to motivate and change a student’s mindset for the future, and I want to be that teacher. Thanks to Kris [Houston] and Terry [Shanahan], I have learned so much over these past three years about how to motivate all types of students. This year I am doing my student teaching in Santa Ana High which is in a low-income community as well. I am lucky to be working with a great mentor teacher because he is the type of teacher I want to be in the future. He is the type of teacher that lets his students know he is there when they need help with school work or even there if they need someone to talk to. This motivates students to want to succeed in his class but also serves as a motivation to become successful in life. He is not only a teacher to them but also a mentor. This is the type of teacher I want to be in the future. My goal as a teacher is to make sure that my students, once they graduate, will have many doors open to them. I want this to be the case in a low-income community because many of those students need as much help as possible.