'Why I Teach': A First-Year Teacher Returns To The Historic Northeast

Aug 11, 2015

"I want to be in my city and I want to be in my neighborhood."
Credit Julia Szabo / KCUR

Name: Susana Ozaeta
Number of years teaching: 1
Grade: 6th
School: Gladstone Elementary, Kansas City Public Schools

"Their eyes lit up when they knew I was from the neighborhood." 

Susana Ozaeta grew up in Northeast Kansas City. As a child of immigrants she saw how uncomfortable her Spanish-speaking mother felt at her school.

In high school, Susana had her own struggles, feeling misunderstood by teachers who didn’t truly get to know their students. Susana says these experiences inspired her to become a teacher who would learn about her students and embrace families.

After four years at UMKC’s Institute of Urban Education, Susana will be in her old neighborhood teaching 6th grade. 

Julia Szabo contributed to this story. 

This story is part of KCUR's 'Teaching It Forward' project, which looks deeply at the changing nature of the teaching profession in the Kansas City metro.