Honoring Ricardo Salcedo

Ricardo Salcedo photo

Ricardo Salcedo

Middle School Language Arts Teacher

Temecula, CA

Currently, Mr. Salcedo is an English Language Arts Specialist. He teaches English and ELD to 6th, 7th and 8th grade students in Temecula Middle School, in his hometown of Temecula, California for the Temecula Valley Unified School District.  Mr. Salcedo graduated from California State University San Marcos in 2000. He earned a BCLAD Multiple Subject teaching credential in 2001. When Mr. Salcedo was 21, he began his teaching career in San Ysidro, CA. Since he began his career, Mr. Salcedo has worked relentlessly teaching English Learners, promoting bilingualism, advancing language opportunities for all students, advocating for English Learners and promoting equality.

Mr. Salcedo continues to excel at his work in the role of English Language Arts Specialist. Currently, he teaches English Learners, models lessons for other teachers, elbow coaches, mentors student teachers, develops curriculum at the district level, provides training and is involved in various committees.

He has spoken at various events including, California State San Marcos MeCHA Conference, Casa Familiar in San Ysidro, Centro Cultural de La Raza in San Diego, Chicano Park Celebration, and in various local churches. During his free time, Mr. Salcedo loves spending time with his wife Marcela and his 3 children, Aurora, Beniah, and Elisha. He enjoys serving on the board of directors for God’s Grace Outreach Ministries and, if time permits, playing with his bulldogs, Cinnamon, Jewel and Nana.

Why do you teach?

Ever since I was a young boy, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. Learning comes naturally for me. As a child, even though I was experiencing success,   I saw many of my friends struggling in school and unable to make academic progress. They wanted to succeed, but teachers did not know how to help them. It was as if there was this great divide and they teachers had no idea how to move the students from point a to point b.  This stirred up a deep desire to teach. I chose to become a teacher. I knew I could do something the traditional teacher could not. I knew I could help unlock the potential our students possess. Today, not a whole lot has changed in education as a whole, but a lot has changed for my students. My students experience success. I may not be able to change education, but I sure can change the way children are educated in my classroom!

What do you love about teaching?

I love the interactions with all my students. I love being in a community of learners and being involved in the learning of my students. I love being able to teach powerful lessons and equip children with the tools, knowledge and resources they will use for their entire lives. I love being able to take regular lessons and tweek them to allow the learners to make meaning and produce application across disciplines! I love being able to empower students to unlock their full potential. In short, what do I like best about teaching? I love teaching kids! I treasure the opportunities and memories we create in the classroom as we dive deep into the subject matter and make it meaningful, produce knowledge and develop deep understanding!

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

Unfortunately, I never had a teacher that inspired me or that I looked up to. It just didn’t happen. I always hoped to one day have a teacher I could look up to, even relate to, but that never happened. Most of my teachers were Caucasian and though they meant well, they were never able to relate to me or I to them. Sadly, most educators today still have no idea how to relate or connect with English Language Learners.

Even though we are making vast strides (in education) and improvements (to how we teach minority children), back when I was a student it was rare to have a bilingual teacher. Most teachers were unaware of just how foreign and irrelevant school was to students like myself. The teachers talked about things we could not relate to or understand. Every song they brought in, anecdote they shared, experience they described was completely irrelevant to students like myself.

The knowledge we (Latino students) have is so immense, so profound, so deep; yet it goes untapped by Anglo teachers. It was as if I were caught in two different worlds, and the real world for me consisted of my Hispanic heritage, the traditions, oral histories and centuries upon centuries of rich Spanish language; that world was not valued or utilized by traditional teachers or the American public school system. Every day at school, I had to “step into their world.”

For a child this is confusing and frustrating. My mom would tell us stories to try to encourage us. She used to tell me this story about a family of turtles. I felt like we were the turtles in her stories. Like turtles, we carried everything that had value with us, and even though we walked through dry deserts, and faced incredible odds, what we carry with us gave us strength to keep moving.