#LatinosTeach, Recognizing Nancy Ballesteros


Coming from a family who has instilled the notion that she could achieve anything in life if she worked hard contributed to the person she is today. Nancy Ballesteros parents taught her that with dedication and determination your dreams will become a reality. At times, obstacles hindered her success and made it extremely difficult for her to continue with her goals. During her elementary and high school years she struggled with the academic content due to a language barrier. However, she did not let this prevent her from achieving her goals. She graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education on December 17, 2011.

Teaching has always been her dream. Nancy is currently in her fourth year of teaching for the Chicago Public Schools. She has been working as an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Madero Middle school in the Southwest of Chicago. As a teacher, she actively pursues professional development opportunities. She has worked closely with her administrator and tenured teachers conducting observations, setting goals, and reflecting on her professional practice. It is her sincerest desire to become a highly effective teacher and to profoundly impact the lives of her students.

Because of her personal struggles acquiring academic English proficiency, she had a special desire to teach and advocate for young people who are English Language Learners. She is currently enrolled in the ESL endorsement courses at the University of Illinois Chicago campus to strengthen her skills in this area.

She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in the Educational Studies concentration within the MEd Instructional Leadership program with an emphasis in English as a Second Language in order to be a more efficacious public educator. She wishes to not only be more adaptive to the learning needs of her students, but also to broaden her appreciation of and sensitivity to cultural differences. She wants to improve her ability to assess, plan, and deliver instruction in a manner that is pedagogically sound and addresses the needs of diverse learners. It is her belief that her graduate courses at University of Illinois Chicago will have a lasting impact on the youth she teaches.

Why do you teach? I have always wanted to become a teacher since I could remember. I teach because I know that a teacher’s influence can impact a child’s life and a make a difference. I provide an important influence that helps my students make the right decisions, even when they are not in my classroom.

I believe my role as an educator is to be a guide for students as they develop as independent, curious learners. I help students discover topics and activities that interest them and can inspire them to want to learn for its own intrinsic value. I promote acceptance and appreciation of diversity as a teacher. My classroom is a place where different ideas, interests, personalities, and cultures are all accepted and celebrated. As an educator, I must take a genuine interest in the individual students that I serve. I treat them with unconditional regard and always am happy to see them. I scaffold responsibilities in a way that guides students in developing self-discipline and self-monitoring skills. I am an advocate for students’ needs and empower young people to advocate for themselves.

What do you love about teaching? I truly love to see my students learn while exposing them to a high level of education just like other students in prestigious neighborhoods. I love to see them enthusiastic as they enter my classroom every single day.   I also love to see them grow physically, mentally, and socio-emotionally from the start of the school year to the end.