Teacher Ramiro Garza’s Words Will Make You Rethink Life

“I don’t even know what fifty is supposed to feel like,” said Garza as he spoke to his 7th-period students, as they were asking him why he looks so young for his age.

Ramiro Garza, a U.S. History teacher at Jimmy Carter Early College High School, celebrated his 50th birthday. He currently teaches more than ninety students, helping them learn the country’s history and how the bible has influenced it, and how it plays into the oppression of particular groups of people.

He was born September 23rd, 1969, and grew up in a Catholic household like many Hispanics; he has lived in places like Bakersfield, California. As well as here in South Texas, and even graduated from La Joya High School in 1988. Then he joined the Army and worked at West Point. He also served as an assistant pastor. Garza earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Pan-American University in Texas and his Masters of Arts with a concentration in History in Interdisciplinary Studies. As per his biography on the Jimmy Carter website, Garza teaches History 1301: United States History I & History 1302: United States History II as well as regular high school U.S. history. He also actively runs a couple of miles every morning and has a wife and three kids.

Q: How has your view on life changed throughout the years?

A:

“Wow…that’s a very broad question, how my view on life has changed how the years. I don’t know where to start, um, there’s several different views I’ve had. My view point changed in life from high school to joining the Army. That was a change, I got to see things in a different light compared to when I was in high school. For example, going to high school or being in high school in the 80’s I couldn’t see past Friday. I lived life waiting for the weekend to come, but that’s as far as I could see. Then when I joined the Army – I was a little older – the outlook changed a little bit. I got to meet different people, got to be in different places. Then got married at the time, then had two kids during that time, then yeah the outlook changed. Then I got out of the army, continued to work a job, get educated. The education changed my perspective – religious education. Then after I got a secular education, then my outlook on life changed again, and understood things in a different way. Now it’s that new perspective is one I teach my students that I have today.” said Garza.

Q: Why did you decide to become a history teacher?

A:

“To offer that new perspective.”

Q: How do you feel about the introduction of technology to Generation Z, those born between 1995 to 2015, as they are heavily reliant on it even today?

A:

“Yeah, heavily reliant on it, it’s a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that you guys have information available to you – that you all hardly ever use. For example, if I introduce a word in class…conundrum, for example. If I say ,’we’re in a conundrum right now.’  Most students in class, won’t bother to look it up. Meaning they can easily use google to define that word. Most students won’t, and so you have available all of this information that you have access to. But most students won’t do it or at least the students that I work with here. So it’s a good thing and a bad thing, if you guys were to use it more often. You guys have more access to information than my generation ever had…so it’s a good thing and a bad thing – it is a blessing and a curse.”

Q: Who was your role model at the age of sixteen, a usual 11th grader’s age in high school.

A:

“I had a really good teacher by the name of Gwen Marshall. She was a health occupation teacher at the time. She wasn’t anything that I could say that she was a very fancy lady. She was very influential, just in a very standard way. She was a plain person, she was an educated person. She had sound judgement, if that makes any sense. She talked like a grown-up. She wasn’t a teacher who was really trying to fit in. She just basically acted her age, and I think that’s what made me respect her and I wanted to get her approval when I was in her class.”

Q: How were you like during the age of sixteen.

A:

“At the age of sixteen, I was a big time risk taker. I would do a lot of stuff that my parents didn’t know that I was doing. I wasn’t hurting anybody, but if my parents were there they would’ve never wanted for me to do it. I had a really good time, if there any time in my life where I would wanna go back in time, it would be to be sixteen again. It was a very good age, a really good time for music. Just because I’m a child of the 80’s probably some of the best rock and roll music that ever came out, came out in the 1980’s. And I got to live different places, not only here in the Rio Grand Valley, but I got to live in Bakersfield, California, Hereford, Texas. You get a different feel of people when you live in those two different states, or two different cities. It was really good.”

Q: How do you feel American politics have changed through the years?

A:

“American politics, they really haven’t changed, the craziness still happens. It’s just happening with different names. The only difference here, probably, is…how fast we get the information. In the old days it wasn’t that fast, we didn’t have twenty-four hour news. Nowadays we do, and so when something happens it’s happening on the hour every hour, and so we have all of this access to that. Politics from…way back in the 1800’s to the 1900’s to the 2000’s now. Politicians have done some wild and crazy things from having sexual affairs with people, blacks, whites. To trying manipulate the system to get reelected. It’s all the same, it’s just playing out in different years with different names.”

Q: What one significant life experience has impacted your life in a substantial way?

A:

“Um, several ones, but one in particular. When you have your own kids. Your outlook or the impact of life, of having them around changes you. You now know that you’re responsible for raising somebody. For teaching them right from wrong. It’s a very heavy responsibility.”

Q: What is something you want us as teenagers to understand?

A:

“That life isn’t easy. Things are not always given to you. You have to work for them, when you get them appreciate them. Watch what you say and how you say it. Love people, be appreciative, be mindful when somebody does something nice for you. Recognize that. Use words wisely, tell a friend that you love ’em, hug your mom, kiss your grandma. Things like that, I don’t think people really pay attention to people and – I think people take people for granted. People think they’re always gonna have somebody but they don’t.”

 

Author

Amry L.

They were born March 1st, 2003 around 8:30 in the morning. They would’ve been born earlier if there was even a doctor ready for their birth. Though it makes them think what if they had been born earlier? Would they have been different? When they were around two, there came their sister. They despised their sister extremely, to the point that they refused to acknowledge them as their sister, and would never let their sister play with their toys. Though they did love their step father at the time. He wasn’t narcissistic, but gentle and funny. He always carried them wherever. He was a strong tall black six foot man. Though it was up until he was placed in jail for plenty of charges relating to domestic abuse that their trust in people is zero to none, though that isn’t the major factor of them losing trust for others. Moreover a factor into tens of hundreds of things that have happened to them. They spent the first years of their life so poor, that their mom wasn’t able to eat. They distinctly remember being around 6 or 7, possibly Pre-K or Kindergarten. They were sitting in a chair, eating what was a little meal that was maybe 97 cents. It was enough and they were happy. Then they remember looking up and seeing their mom look so tired. Like she hadn’t eaten in so long, they never looked anywhere else than down so looking in front of themselves was a new thing. It broke something in them that still makes them cry to this day, they still cry every time they remember her face. They were so confused and they asked her if she wanted some. She told them no and they would later watch as she ate the scraps of what they hadn’t eaten. It sounds like the start of a sad boring story about how a person managed to get out of that red, sad area before becoming the person they are today. Well sort of, they don’t know yet because they don’t even know the end of their own story. They went through plenty worse that they can’t even bare to mention without spending another ten minutes crying. They remember making their family happy with the little jokes they cracked. The family would smile faintly, a small curve of their lips as they looked at them. They guess that triggered them into taking up learning how to be a comedian, though not exactly in that manner. For a good portion of their life they were bullied over their skin color, gender, sexual orientation, and amongst other things that were out of their control. They remember being made fun of in elementary school over not having a dad, then slowly for being so white that they would never be accepted as hispanic or latina and looking like a ‘girl and boy.’ They were ridiculed over what they later learned was being androgynous, as well as their weight was a new point bullies went out of their way to make fun of. Then they came into Domingo Trevino Middle School only to be bullied everyday for ‘looking gay.’ They spent a good portion of their life more severely depressed than they are now. They couldn’t sit anywhere without kids pointing out their weight or looks. They felt relieved when they were moved into classes with all the kids who were considered smart. Those kids didn’t bully them at all and actually understood them. To think that it was all because they got fed up and went to get their schedule changed early in 7th grade. A simple schedule change caused them to meet their best friends. They met Crystal who is in Jimmy Carter High School with them too. Alongside five others, but mainly Emiliano and Ryan, who they thank for stopping the bullies from bullying them any further. Through there was an instance that they regret not telling their friends, which was in 8th grade. A guy who had regularly bullied them before had managed to catch them alone and beat them up. They had bruises on their arms mostly from trying to defend themselves. They have never told their mom either. Now that they’re in high school, there was a huge change. Being a freshman was the worst and was the beginning of their depression making them just feel empty for the first time. They were neither happy nor sad. They were somewhere lost in their emotionless state, smiling when they felt they needed to, due to social cues or crying. Sadness was the only feeling of emotion that struck several times. Though they knew they were having fun they just couldn’t truly feel it in their bones nor in their heart, at least in their toes. Though their body image was slowly changing from bad to better. Sooner into sophomore year they felt some happiness, they had been in the middle for so long that it confused them when they felt happy. They smiled when they felt happy and laughed too. Sure to have fun and suppress any sadness they felt. They loved their courses and loved their friends in the beginning of sophomore year. They felt like smiling and they felt like making others happy. Then of course good things only last so long. Friends of one of the many friend groups they were with made threats to others. Sure enough they did not choose the friend group that made the threats as when called on. Though they didn’t know at the time that that group was making fun of their friends so of course they took that groups word for it. Then it just went from there, people took sides, and plenty took to making jabs at them. “They’re so much better than you.” or “I hate your jokes, you’re so not funny.” Of course it didn’t affect them, but it made them think how those very people who expressed an ounce of kindness towards them. Stopped when the likability or popularity of them dropped. So they stopped trying, and just gave into not caring. Later into the end of the school year they couldn’t even bear to feel anything, They were so emotionally exhausted. Any feeling they just couldn’t feel or express at all. Then came summer, their mom took them to a psychiatrist over a major breakdown they had in the end of sophomore year over what they came to know as a PTSD episode from an extremely traumatic experience in their life, and four other disorders. Though those very disorders don’t make them or dictate their life and explaining their hardships somehow lifted the weight off their shoulders. As a junior in high school, they realize that they have to provide for their family regardless of how unprivileged, or privileged to be here in the United States and to be white passing. They are a real person with hardships that can hold them back, but don’t make them, them.

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