Laura Ruelas’ journey to teaching came full circle as she became what inspired her to learn: a teacher.
For most teenagers, anything remotely related to school is in the back of their minds, and Laura Ruelas was no different. As a teenager, Ruelas did not love school, let alone the thought of attending college when the possibilities and pathways were endless. This mentality didn’t change until she went to high school and encountered biology for the first time.
Although biology can seem intimidating, Ruelas fell in love with the field as she had an extraordinary teacher that went above and beyond to ensure that she understood the concepts. If she did not fully comprehend the ideas the first time, her biology teacher would not give up on her and worked to help her better understand the content. As a result, Ruelas grew a deep appreciation for biology and began entertaining the idea of attending college in the future. However, Ruelas still did not know what she wanted to study in college as she had multiple interests. Despite feeling confused, Ruelas hit the ground running as she took on many AP and Honors courses and engaged in extracurricular activities during her high school career. She also delved deeper into the different science disciplines and found that they were interconnected. With this discovery, she went on to get her Bachelors of Science in Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder with the intention of going into the healthcare field, but soon realized that she had a greater calling: to be a teacher.
Despite the horror stories Ruelas had been told about teaching, she had been hooked after her experience of being a teaching assistant for a college class, Nutrition for Health and Performance. As a result, she found that “students, especially young people, are really bright and a lot of times they [do not] get credit for how smart they are. Not only are they smart but they are [also] driven.” With a passion for science and empowering students, Ruelas joined the science department at TJ and teaches General Biology, Anatomy and Physiology Honors, and Advisement in room 134. Ruelas is excited to be teaching Anatomy and Physiology Honors because of her background in this subject— it also does not hurt that this class does a lot of cool dissection.
To Ruelas, teaching Anatomy and Physiology Honors was not the only enticing thing TJ had to offer, as TJ also has a diverse demographic of students. As a first-generation Mexican-American with immigrant parents from Jalisco, Mexico, Ruelas values multiculturalism as, “diverse experiences enrich not only [the lives of students] but the lives of teachers as well.” Having a diverse background has helped Ruelas foster connections with her students as she is able to connect through her experience of navigating a school system different than the one her parents attended. As a result, she is a great resource for many of her students, whether that is working with them to achieve their goals or directing them to other resources they could use to get one step closer to their dreams; therefore, embodying one of the fundamental aspects of teaching: fostering relationships.
Besides teaching, Ruelas enjoys finding things in thrift and antique stores. She also loves to make jewelry. During her free time, you will also catch her watching her favorite TV shows on Netflix: Stranger Things, Black Mirror, The Vampire Diaries, and Manifest.
This is the story of how one teacher’s compassion inspired a student to become a teacher. This demonstrates that teachers influence the next generation by passing on knowledge and skills through kindness and patience, thus instilling a passion to learn within them. Now, Ruelas sets out to make a difference in the lives of her students just as her biology teacher made a difference in her life.