Woodward Christian Academy’s new second grade teacher Ruth Botello came to this country when she was 19 years old.
“It is a blessing to be here,” Botello said. “The country, the freedom, the opportunities that you get here, it’s just a blessing.”
Botello said the naturalization and citizenship process was stressful, but worth it.
“The sacrifice my parents made, what they did for me, thinking of me and getting more opportunities,” Botello said. “They came from Mexico. My dad was a pastor. So they came with a R2 visa, a religious visa. It is not easy. We were not allowed to work anywhere else, just in one place. Just he was allowed to work in the church and we were not allowed to get a job.”
At a young age, Botello spent a lot of time in the library and helping tutor friends.
“Since I was little, I knew that I enjoy the challenge of finding the right way to explain something to somebody,” Botello said. “It's just so satisfying. I like the feeling.”
Botello received a scholarship to attend Oklahoma Wesleyan University where she struggled at first. She especially struggled understanding math problems in the language. But she persevered and made it through. Botello’s main focus of study was music education and she teaches music lessons after school.
“For me, this opportunity is amazing, that I knew that I was going to do whatever it takes,” Botello said. “My main instrument is voice and I play piano. I've been playing guitar since I was little. And I'm playing drums now in church.”
Having some experience teaching children in Sunday School and as a teacher’s aide, Botello has jumped right in teaching the second graders phonics, arithmetic, penmanship, history, geography and more.
“Before I got married, I actually prayed to God that I could be working in the same school where my children were attending. And he gave me that opportunity,” Botello said.
Botello’s classroom is set up modestly with blocks, manipulatives and games. On the board she has character qualities and affirmations. Having a multicultural set of students including one who’s family is from India, Botello believes in addition to academics, promoting children’s mental health is important.
“I want to let them know that they are special,” Botello shared. “I believe God has a plan for each one of them. And just being part of that plan is an honor.”