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Posted: 10/04/19

TAMIU College of Education Students Share Thoughts on World Teachers Day


We Teach Texas

As the globe observes World Teachers Day Oct. 5, two Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) future teachers shared their thoughts on the career they’ve embraced:  one in which being meaningful and inspiring change happens daily.

College of Education students Olby Hughes and Alan Villarreal said the opportunity to become purposeful educators and impact their communities was one they couldn’t pass up.

Both of their experiences are being shared as part of the Texas A&M University System's  state-wide campaign, “We Teach Texas.” TAMIU, along with the 11 universities in the A&M system, produces more fully certified teachers than any other university system in Texas.

Currently, TAMIU helps ready 100 percent of the traditionally prepared teachers within a 100-mile radius. Eighty percent of those typically stay in the classroom for 10 or more years.

Hughes, a Weslaco-native, spent most of her summers traveling with her family, who were migrant workers picking vegetables and fruits.

“I was raised to be a hard worker and education was the most important aspect that was taught by my mother and grandmother.  They used to say that you can succeed in whatever you choose, but you must pursue your education first,” said Hughes.

After graduating from high school and serving 20 years in the United States Marine Corps, Hughes decided to go back to school. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communications from Southeastern Louisiana University. She then decided to become a teacher and obtained alternative certification.

Hughes began her teaching career as an English and Language Arts teacher at Zapata Middle School. She is currently pursuing a TAMIU Master’s degree in School Counseling.

“I think that by becoming a counselor, I will fulfill my desire to be part of the change that is needed in my chosen profession. There is a stigma associated with counseling that prevents people from seeking the help that they need,” she said, “Mental illness is under-treated and often goes undiagnosed. I hope to raise awareness by educating parents, students, teachers and administrators.”  Read more of Hughes thoughts in an essay.

Villarreal, a native Laredoan, lived in Mexico City for much of his childhood. After returning to the U.S., he graduated from Laredo Christian Center before attending TAMIU.  

“Moving back to the United States at such an early age helped positively foster my bilingualism and biliteracy as both a Spanish and English speaker as well as encouraged my growth as a tricultural American, Mexican and Jewish student,” Villarreal explained.

He hopes to become a science teacher that helps students engage in hands-on, active learning activities in the classroom.

“Today’s science classrooms are environments in which pupils are expected to consume and regurgitate immense amounts of facts and information, instead of participating in hands-on investigations and experimental learning for discovery,” said Villarreal.

Noting the lack of these opportunities is what triggered Villarreal to pursue a profession in teaching.

“Because I’m a person who prefers to cause change when I identify a problem rather than complain about it, I declared Science Education as my chosen program of study when I enrolled at TAMIU—and it’s certainly one of the best choices I have ever made.”  Read more of Villarreal's thoughts in an essay.

In celebration of World Teacher Day, which is typically held Saturday, Oct. 5, the University’s College of Education hosted several events focused on the past, present and future of teaching.

The week’s events included a We Teach Laredo Master Class which College of Education alumni from the past 50 years to share their experiences, a mixer to appreciate supporters of future TAMIU educators, and a World Teacher Day Induction Ceremony for RISING Leaders in Education.

For information about TAMIU’s College of Education programs, please call 956.326-2420, email or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 429.

For more about The Texas A&M University System’s “We Teach Texas” Campaign, visit,

For information about TAMIU’s College of Education programs, please contact TAMIU’s Graduate School at 956.326-3020, email or visit offices located in the Senator Judith Zaffirini Student Success Center, room 206.

For more on the University’s story, visit or its social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

For more about The Texas A&M University System’s “We Teach Texas” Campaign, visit,

Olby Hughes

College of Education Dean Dr. James O'Meara and student Olby Hughes 


Dr. Jesse Salazar, College of Education assistant professional and student Alan Villarreal