Benjamin Lucas Garcia, Education Coordinator (SO PBS)
"I consider my master's degree one of the best acquisitions of my lifetime, not just because it has opened a lot of doors for me, but most importantly it has challenged me to live up to the title of "Master" by continually striving to be a lifelong learner."
- MEd – Portland State University, 2012
From 2010 through 2016 I taught secondary language arts in Portland Public Schools; remedial English at the University of Aguascalientes, Mexico; secondary ESL classes at a private high school in Aguascalientes, Mexico; middle school ESL for an IB World School in China; and finally taught secondary ELA for the American School of Torreon, Mexico. In late 2016 I moved back home to verdant southern Oregon where I started to work with a grant-funded program called the PBS Teacher Community Program (TCP). As a "Teacher Ambassador" I worked with many local teachers on various educational projects and programs. As the grant-related work ran its course, the local station Southern Oregon PBS (SO PBS) continued to employ me as their Education Coordinator. I have sustained our flagship project called the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs (SRL), which is a video journalism class for secondary students. This Career Technical Education (CTE) project has me co-teaching and mentoring three SRL classes in two local school districts via partnerships with Medford Schools and Eagle Point Schools. I'm excited to share what I have learned relating to CTE with SOU students.
In which online programs do you teach?
Intro to CTE
What do you want students to take away from your classes? What do you want them to learn?
I hope that students leave my course with a realistic understanding of CTE, and an eagerness to forge industry partnerships with local businesses or nonprofits.
How long have you been teaching online courses?
I have been a teacher for 10 years and have had a blended classroom for much of that time.
Why did you start teaching?
The first class I ever taught was an AVID course for Portland Public Schools in 2010.
What is the value of a higher degree in the field in which you teach?
I consider my master's degree one of the best acquisitions of my lifetime, not just because it has opened a lot of doors for me, but most importantly it has challenged me to live up to the title of "Master" by continually striving to be a lifelong learner.
What advice would you give to those considering your online program?
When I was in graduate school, I took a wide variety of non-required education courses like library studies, SPED, ESL/ELL, and early childhood education. This breadth opened my eyes to the vast career possibilities available in the world of education. I encourage students to do the same.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
As it relates to the realm of education, every educator should read "A Smile as Big as the Moon." There are many themes at work in this text, but my favorite is that of resilience.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.
I still haven't found my "bliss" or "calling" in life, but I'm confident that my path lies somewhere in the world of education.