Raquel Rodriguez: Her Story and Experiences with TAFE

So, I am Raquel Rodriguez, and I am a student here at Texas A&M International University. I am currently a junior, and next year, I will be a senior. I am studying to become an early learning teacher with a focus on interdisciplinary studies.


Since the last time we met, we have been busy with our competitions and conferences. A lot has happened over the past year. We attended our regional conference, state conference, and national conference, and we came back as first-place champions in most of the events we competed in. We competed against 30 other universities nationwide, so I am incredibly proud of our team. They showed a lot of leadership skills and enthusiasm, and for many of them, if not most, it was their first time competing. It was great to see them win first place in something so new to them.


Besides that, we have been accomplishing a lot within our chapter as well. We have been going to schools, giving our members the opportunity to be teachers for a day, working on lesson plans, and creating study sessions for those taking the rep exams. It’s been a period of significant change and growth.


Since I’m still a junior, I haven’t started my clinicals yet. These types of experiences and opportunities are great for me and my members to gain experience gradually before actually going to clinicals. This way, when we do go to clinicals and into actual classrooms, we already have experience working with kids and teaching lessons.


One of the challenges for TAFE has been gaining recognition from our university. Educational careers often don’t receive the recognition they deserve, and this has been the case at our university as well. At the beginning, when we were trying to get through our Regional Conference, which is the first and smaller part of the conferences, we weren’t receiving the help we needed, and there wasn’t much attention given to what we were doing. However, as we started achieving more and becoming more active, they began to notice us.


There was a lot of negativity directed towards the College of Education, and it felt personal for many of the officers. It’s been a tough journey to establish the chapter and grow it to what it is now. We, as officers, attended several sessions with the Student Government Association and defended the College of Education. That’s when they started recognizing us more and considering us seriously.


One of the most challenging obstacles has been the general overlook of educational careers in society. However, once they noticed the changes we were bringing to the College of Education and TAMIU, they started acknowledging us more.


For TAFE, we have established traditions and values that we follow. I am excited for the next officers to continue this leadership and uphold these values. Personally, I am thrilled about all the opportunities that TAFE and the College of Education have brought me. I have met many people in the educational field, interacted with different districts, and connected with other universities. I serve on the board of directors for TAFE as the student advocate for legate chapters, which has allowed me to attend conferences with other universities. It is very rewarding to hear that they know about us even as far as North Texas.


Overall, it has been very rewarding to see that we are making a change, establishing connections with other universities and professors, and opening up future opportunities for the workforce and more.

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