Tracking the Tracks: Teacher Interviews
February 15, 2018
Unlike the other STISD high schools, BETA is unique in the fact that it offers three distinctive tracks for students to choose from which include business, education, and technology. With such great options, it may be overwhelming to choose, so the Tornado Press staff has conducted interviews with teachers from each track to provide more insight as to what their field of study is all about. We would like to recognize the following teachers who set apart time to answer our questions: Tara Pratt (Business), Rosa Gonzalez (Education), and Vickie Roge (Technology).
How would you encourage students to choose the track you teach?
Business: “I could only encourage someone to join the business track if I felt that they possessed the true entrepreneurial spirit and could get something out of the business track,” Pratt said. “They have to figure out if they are actually interested in the talents it presents to students. If they’re not interested in that subject matter, I would have to ask them to reconsider Education or Technology.“
Education: “I would encourage them by sharing that in this track we learn a lot of different topics. For example, we talk a lot about Psychology,” Gonzalez said. “This track has a lot to do with people. It’s about being social and knowing how to interact with others. We learn how to problem solve and create balance in our daily lives.” She then clarified by saying that the education track does in fact focus on education, but there is an overall focus “on social sciences.”
Technology: “I think each track fits a certain type of personality. I want students to be happy at BETA, and if we find the track that best suits them, they’ll stay,” Roge said. “If I find a techie, I’ll begin to tell them why they need us and what we can do for their career. I would say things such as ‘Don’t you want to learn how to fix your problems instead of having them fixed by someone else when it comes to technology whether it’s to write a program, create an animation, create a webpage, or to fix a computer?’”
Can you describe your favorite class to teach and what it entails?
Business: “My favorite class is Algebra…Club,” said Pratt. “It is not a business class but it is my favorite class. In that class, there are these group of people who think they can’t do the kind of work that’s being required of them. Perhaps in the past they were the victims of laziness.” But aside from this class, Pratt said that her two favorite classes to teach are “law and accounting.”
Education: “My favorite is when we actually go off campus,” Gonzalez said with reference to South Texas BETA’s SITES program. She went on to to say that “students gain the one-on-one experience and exposure in the classroom. When we visit the neighboring elementary schools, it’s fun for student. They get to realize that they can make a difference in a child’s life. When they form those relationships with those young students, they learn that they can impact others. It’s really nice to see them have that epiphany.”
Technology: “Computer Maintenance is my favorite class to teach,” Roge said. “It takes discipline. To prepare to teach it, it takes time, effort, and intuition. I have to get many of the kids out of their comfort zone to make them good PC repair technicians. Also, to study for this capstone test is hard. Even adults don’t have it because they don’t know how to study for it. The test is also very expensive, and the school generously pays for it. Teaching the kids how to study is very difficult, but when the students put in the work, the talents they leave the school with is amazing.”
What type of student would be a good candidate for this track?
Business: “An energetic one!” exclaimed an enthusiastic Pratt. “There’s a lot of work to be done here. We need students who are self-possessed and poised, who want to explore and have creative ideas. Students should be willing to dedicate their time to the field of business and all their other studies because that creates the well-rounded student a business student really must be.”
Education: “We have all types of students,” Gonzalez said. “We have students that are very artistic. We have students that are very creative. We do a lot of role playing, a lot of skits, and hands on activities. We also have a lot of special needs students.” She then made it clear that the education track “[makes} room for everyone.”
Technology: “For technology, we have different kinds of kids,” remarked Roge. “We have the technology that is graphic art and design. People who are into that are going to want to do their own thing and express themselves. It’s awesome. They use illustrator and Photoshop to design. They create beautiful webpages. They can express themselves through creation.” Shen the talked about having “those kids who want to change the software they use. They want to be behind the scenes, the wizard in the Wizard of Oz. Those are your coders. They are very critical thinkers. We love to encourage them to get into Computer Science.” Furthermore, she talked about “the technical aspect” of the technology track “where we have that Principles of IT where we teach you the IC3 Computer Literacy. Then you can branch out. You can do Web Technologies and Computer Maintenance where we get into the Networking and learn how all the equipment works. Finally, we have an engineering portion of the track. It’s really its own track, but it’s incorporated with the technology track for those people who want to design and build. Really, we have four tracks in one.”