San Antonio, Generalist 4-8
International Relations, Business Minor
You leave a conversation with Karla Rodriguez feeling like you’ve just met a celebrity. Karla’s got this great inherent star power that conveys itself in her passion for making the world a better place.
Karla was born in Texas, during her childhood her family moved between the Rio Grande Valley and Zacatecas. Karla attended the flagship IDEA charter school.
Rodriguez credits so many of her teachers there with helping her think big about her future.
“I think whether I went to IDEA or not, my parents would have motivated me no matter what, but at IDEA I was just surrounded by so many people to motivate me,” she said. In comparison to IDEA, the school she would have been zoned to attend was very under resourced and over crowded. “Sometimes they’d have 60 kids in a classroom meant for 30,” Karla recounted, having seen the experiences of friends who attended the public school.
Although she’d been considering colleges all over the country, after graduating high school Karla decided to follow her older brother to UT. Despite being so close to her family, Karla made sure she expanded her own world as much as possible in college.
“My first year I really wanted to get to know as many people as I could,” she told me. She definitely met that goal. We were conducting our interview behind the liberal arts building and had to pause every few minutes so Karla could wave to someone she knew. Even more impressive, she had something nice to say about every single person she knew, “she’s in Royals with me, she’s such a sweet person,” is just one of the compliments she gave out during our interview.
Karla is going to San Antonio to teach next year. She says she’s excited to work in place that is simultaneously similar and different from her hometown. Deciding to do Teach For America was a case of everything falling into place for Karla, “I’m all about signs and I think it’s such a great program and I’ve personally seen from my own TFA teachers how it’s changed me and I know I can be that too.”
For anyone considering Teach For America, Karla highly recommends you chat with an alumni. “I think there’s a bit of a misperception with TFA, I really recommend to have a conversation with someone who has done TFA.”
Thinking about TFA? March 1st is the last deadline for seniors to apply (and the first for junior