Many teachers can make a good argument for the profession and Myla Candelario is one; she used to be in the law field. Growing up, Myla’s family moved from country to country due to a parent in the military, and so when considering careers Myla was attracted to the stability and monetary aspects of a career in law. She began law school only to find that she hated it. As a part of her program, she did get a taste of the practice while interning at an agency which managed equal opportunity employment complaints. She was unhappy with the work, however, and moved on to her next career, as a part of her family’s real estate business. Myla worked for a time managing properties, but still something was missing.
Myla’s mother taught elementary and middle school for students with Emotional Disturbance, and she invited Myla to come and see her classroom. There, Myla really liked what she saw. She also enjoyed hearing her mother’s stories about her students, and Myla really got a sense of how much those students loved her mother. This, she felt, was a sharp contrast to the “back-stabbing” she felt in her work in law, and it piqued her desire to become a teacher.
Through internet research Myla found California State University, Los Angeles, and familiarized herself with both the teaching credential program and the special education doctoral program. Taking the long view, Myla thought it would be nice to teach children, and then teach teachers. And so she applied, and joined the university, and then the intern program.
As a student in the intern program, Myla says her experience has been characterized by high expectations. There were a lot of aspects to manage, she says, when one first comes to the field as a beginning teacher, including principals, new students, student assessments, evaluating your own effectiveness. Myla feels that the intern program has helped her by showing her which way to go. Providing the opportunity and encouragement to collaborate with other teachers is another strength of the program, Myla says, citing a number of classes from directed teaching to technology to specializations in Autism and Emotional Disturbance.
Being an intern teacher feels right to Myla. She draws on her upbringing, which she states has helped her to better understand the students she teaches who are often transitioning to new schools. As an intern teacher, Myla says her university advisor, Dr. Park, has been incredibly helpful. “It’s hard to describe your situation,” she says, but her advisor would come and see the daily behaviors in the classroom and lend his expertise and knowledge in consultation. He could address the instructional program and give her valuable feedback to solve problems and make effective change to her teaching and the classroom. And the fact that he nominated her for the “Golden Apple Student Teaching Award” is a further sign that Myla has now found the field where she belongs, where she can find that acceptance that her previous careers lacked and truly make a difference.