A smiling Latina in front of a large painting of a monarch butterfly.

When I’m Overwhelmed, This Teacher Keeps Me Motivated

A smiling Latina in front of a large painting of a monarch butterfly.

In this essay, a Kennedy High School student shows her appreciation for her digital arts teacher, Mitzi Pérez-Caro, who is a Pulse contributor. (Photo by Jeanette Pérez)

Commentary, Sasha Abigana

I sometimes struggle to stay motivated in school, but since my high school career is coming to an end, I need to make sure I keep up my grades in order to graduate. Some classes are more challenging than others, primarily because of the teachers. Since I don’t like many of them or their teaching methods, it can be hard, so I really appreciate it when a teacher is patient with their pupils and ensures that they understand what is being taught.

Pérez is the teacher that inspires me a lot because it was in her class that I developed a passion for digital arts. She opened my eyes to a whole new world of art and taught me new tips and tricks based on the skills I already possess. Before I was in her class, I thought digital arts was just drawing digitally, so I assumed it might be kind of hard, making me feel overwhelmed that I might fail another class. However, she showed us that there were so many different types of digital arts to learn like photography, Photoshop, graphic design and so much more.

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Once, I was absent from school for about a week, and I was a bit overwhelmed because I knew that I had missed a lot of work from my classes. It was the end of the year, so it was essential for me to pass my classes. In Pérez’s class, we were coding, and it takes a lot of work. You’ve got to make sure you’re paying close attention to make sure your coding is right, so there was honestly a lot of pressure. I went to class kinda nervous that day, but Pérez helped me so that my code was up to date. She didn’t realize how much pressure she had taken off my shoulders. It was like I didn’t even leave, and as she helped me fill in my code, she filled me in on the information that I had missed as well so that I would know what everything meant. She is one of the only teachers who did that for me, and I am so grateful that she went out of her way to help me.

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Pérez is a teacher I can count on no matter the subject. She helped me with things that aren’t even related to the subject she teaches. Since I had missed a lot, I was trying to finish all the work that had piled up over the week. One subject I have a lot of trouble with is math. That subject is really tricky because if you miss one day, then you’re completely lost. That was the last day to turn in my math work because we were doing our finals. I had Pérez before math, so I was debating whether I should ask Pérez for help since she doesn’t teach math. But I didn’t have much to lose because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I asked Pérez if she is good at math, and luckily she said yes. She helped with the problems and even had me practice remembering how to solve them on my own. She honestly helped me more than my math teacher had helped me this whole year.

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I feel like Pérez actually wants me to succeed in life, not just pass her class. She actually wants me to have a career with the things she is teaching me and even gives me resources to make that a reality. She had us do assignments that will help us have a successful future such as having us write a resume, make a LinkedIn profile and make a portfolio. She even taught us about taxes and why we need them. A lot of people feel very lost moving into adulthood because school doesn’t quite teach them life after high school, but Pérez has done a great job giving us a start on our career paths. She is doing something that I have never seen any teacher do.

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