Problem solving: TSC tutor helps others realize potential

Natalia Martinez is a mathematics tutor at the Texas Southmost College Learning Labs, a duty she said has given her confidence in herself as an aspiring teacher.

The 19-year-old just registered for her last three classes at TSC as an Early Childhood through Sixth Grade Education student. She expects to earn her associate degree in fall 2021.

“Teaching is what I was made for,” she said. “But I wasn’t always sure I could do it or even be a good college student.”

The first-generation college student grew up around education with her aunts as teachers, even playing the role often with her cousins and friends.

“I played school all the time and I always had to be the teacher,” the Brownsville native remembered. “But when it came time to choose a college, I didn’t know where to go or that I could even be successful, but because of TSC and my family’s support, I realized I was capable of a lot.”

It came as a surprise when her college algebra instructor encouraged her to apply as a mathematics tutor.

“She’s the reason why I applied. She believed in me so much,” said Martinez. “That’s what makes TSC different from other colleges – instructors see you as a person, who you are, and really push you and motivate you to be better.”

Since October 2020, Martinez has helped countless students with their math classes.

“Giving other students confidence, in turn, gives me confidence,” she said. “Becoming a tutor has been the highlight of my college experience. It’s so rewarding seeing other students be successful because you were able to help them.”

Martinez said TSC has prepared her in more ways than one.

“As a first-generation college student there was a lot to learn about college and myself. There was a lot of pressure to succeed,” she said. “TSC helped me grow up, grow as a student and not only increase my passion for teaching, but also my passion for learning.”

She plans on continuing her education at a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in education.

“Seeing where my life is going since enrolling at TSC is exciting. I’m excited about my future,” said Martinez. “My dreams are coming true.”

Ultimately, Martinez said she would love to teach at Champion Elementary School in Brownsville, where she went as a child and where many of her teachers inspired her career choice.

“Starting my career at Champion would bring my life, so far, full circle,” she said. “TSC has given me the foundation I need to kickstart my career and I’d love to join their (Champion) team and go back to where it all started. I hope to inspire other children, the way my teachers inspired me.”

TSC tutoring services are available from Monday through Saturday.

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