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A teacher sits a classroom table with four students

Alumni Spotlight: Wylde Aguilera (Greater Delta ’13)

I teach at Aurora Collegiate Academy in Memphis, TN. This is my second year working there. I currently teach third grade. I’m a 2013 corps member from the Mississippi Delta.

April 11, 2023


What have you learned about yourself in your time being a teacher?

Being a teacher has shown me how patient I can be. I admire teachers who through choice or circumstance have taught the same subject for a long time and their patience inspires me. I’ve been lucky enough to teach different subjects as well as different age groups, and I’ve gained a lot of patience that way. It’s necessary if you’re to work in education.

A teacher takes a selfie in a school hallway with students

How do you involve families in your students' education?

These days, I work in a school with many Spanish-speaking families and the way that I connect with them in our native tongue is very familiar and intuitive for me. It feels like talking to extended family. When I first started out as a teacher, I was only a few years older than my high school students and I struggled to find the right voice with my students' parents. I was young and struggled to put myself into their shoes. I had to understand the power that the role carried as well as the expectations of my school families. I reached out one by one and built bridges the best way that I could. I’m glad that these days it happens a lot more organically.

What keeps you grounded and inspired?

I draw a lot of joy from my students, especially my elementary kids. They shower me with love on a daily basis. They inspire me to do really well in my profession. Outside of school, I’ve been staying grounded by spending a lot of time with my wife Siushan and my sister-in-law Siulley. They are always up to something and make life really fun. On my own, I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning! I’ve held on to many things that I can afford to let go off. I have even been cleaning a lot of my virtual footprint. This process of liberating spaces in my life is very rewarding.

Students hug a teacher in a classroom

What is your teaching style?

My teaching style is highly conversational. Through TFA, I learned to implement story-making techniques to teach high school Spanish and then carried what worked to my current role as an elementary ESL teacher. This is also the way I learn.

What is the biggest challenge facing your students? 

This question is tricky, and I think my students would offer a wide variety of answers, all of which would be as applicable as my own, if not more. However, from this perspective, I feel concern when I consider the amount of influence that tech companies have over our students' attention. Each generation is currently establishing its own social mores with technology and adjusting their realities to fit these tiny virtual formats. The biggest challenge I see my students (and us) facing revolves around unplugging from our screens and our social-media-filtered lives.