An Interview with JAM Paper’s 2016 Scholarship Winner
JAM Paper’s 2016 Scholarship Winner : Elmer Coria-Islas!
1. Okay let’s get this one out of the way. Your name is Elmer, so I’m assuming you love office supplies. Any favorites other than glue (sorry had to)?
2. What was it about your past that made you want to become a teacher?
The thirst for knowledge ignited my infatuation with education. Upon arriving to the United States at the age of ten, I zealously committed myself to learning three languages. Becoming tri-lingual facilitates my communication with different cultures. Progressing from reading, writing, and speaking my native language (Portuguese) at a third grade level to a university level galvanized an innovative perspective of education.
3. Being a teacher is hard work (to put it lightly), but you want to go to areas where “education is not prioritized”. Do you think this will make your job even more challenging? If so, how? If not, why?
Definitively, there are more factors involved in teaching these children. For example, poverty, the necessity to start working at a very young age, and the illiteracy of the parents will make my job more challenging. However, there is a greater reward waiting as these children are enlightened.
4. When you were in the favelas in Brazil, what was the biggest lesson you learned from the children and from the environment?
The biggest lesson I learned was that education ought not to be confined to the classroom but should take place throughout a lifetime. By fomenting the enlightenment of the youth, teachers can uplift students to become perennial scholars— active global citizens who have the competence to revolutionize our world.
5. In contrast, what is the biggest lesson you want to teach your children?
I endeavor to instill an incessant practice of critical thinking and introspection on my students.
6. I know you are pursuing a degree in Education at Pacific Lutheran University (congrats by the way!) but are there any specific grades or subjects you’d like to teach?
I would like to teach Elementary School. I really enjoy foreign languages, science which also involves mathematical reasoning and history. History is my favorite subject because, “The best education for situations of actual life consists of the experience we acquire from the study of serious history,” (Polybus, The Rise of the Roman Empire).
7. You also wrote the phrase: “an intellectual renaissance”. That phrase gave one of our workers literal goosebumps. Explain what an intellectual renaissance means to you.
To me, education, along with its underlying moral purpose, is the best predictor of a nation’s success. Our countries will be governed by today’s youth– their educational background and ideas are indispensable for the amelioration of our society. By expressing the idea of an intellectual renaissance, I envision empowerment, the acquisition of a voice which speaks against corruption, discrimination, and injustice– all accomplished through scholarship.
Similarly to the Renaissance that started in Florence, Italy, I believe there is a new world waiting to happen after the dark ages of illiteracy in poverty-stricken countries.
Hope you liked our interview with JAM Paper’s 2016 Scholarship Winner, Elmer, as much as we did! Tune in next year to find out who’s the next lucky (and grateful) educator!