Government and Women and Gender Studies Minor
TFA placement region:
Rio Grande Valley 2019
Debborah Bain had a teacher who changed her life. Debborah struggled to become fluent in English after her family moved from Reynosa in Tamaulipas to the Rio Grande Valley, and by third grade, she was at risk of being held back.
Her teacher refused to accept that. “He essentially taught me English,” she said. “It was something he didn’t have to do but he did.” Debborah said there were early mornings and late afternoons where her teacher took time out of his own schedule to work with her.
“I went on from there to read a million words, which was a big deal in elementary school,” she said. While there’s no doubt she’s read a few million more since elementary school, Debborah’s gone on to make her mark on UT as well.
While at UT, Debborah worked with GirlAdvocates! to lead important discussions on campus. She’s also tutored with Girl Forward, where she used a mix of helping and leading that has prepared Debborah to start equally important discussions in her own classroom.
“I hope being in the Valley, knowing the people and the culture, that I can be an asset like my teacher was,” she said. “And, hopefully one day, helping students the way he helped me won’t be one teacher going out of the way but just what the standard is for education is in the Valley.”
Debborah is ready to help her students, but she also looks forward to what she will learn from them. “If you learn to work with kids, you can work with anybody,” she said.
Teach For America wasn’t Debborah’s original plan, but after she discovered it, she realized it was exactly the place she needs to be. “I feel like, if my teacher had only taught for one year, he did so much for me personally,” she said. “If you’re in the classroom, whether it’s for two years or a lifetime, you still have so much of an impact.”