Francisco Cardoza hopes to encourage inclusion in future classroom

Senior will go to Spain next semester as part of Global Gateway for Teachers

Monday, October 9, 2017

Senior Francisco Cardoza might be preparing to graduate with an elementary education degree that includes concentrations of math and science and an English as a New Language (ENL) license addition – but his journey to the School of Education didn’t come without challenges. Yet through those challenges, Cardoza found strengths that have helped him to today.

Cardoza is a native Spanish speaker and didn’t learn English until early in elementary school. The language barrier meant he had to work even harder from an early age to understand what was being taught to him. That lesson has served him well at IU. As he sees his fellow education majors struggling when they get something wrong, Cardoza embraces any mistakes as another way to learn.

“I’m used to challenging myself just because I like it. If I get a wrong answer or a concept wrong, I don’t feel sad, I feel like alright, I did this wrong what did I do wrong. That’s what I want to teach my kids,” he noted.

Cardoza originally came to IU from Elkhart, Indiana, as a pre-dental student. Health issues forced him to switch his major to elementary education, where he realized the math and science classes he previously took meant he was only one credit away from fulfilling a math and science concentration, two subjects he’s passionate about. He already knows his future classroom will be frog-themed, tying into his passion for science and symbolically representing the way he hopes he and his students will leap into success.

“I want to make it a very inclusive environment where my students can feel comfortable with one another. That starts with me making them feel they’re all welcome,” Cardoza said. “I want them to know throughout the schoolyear they’re going to be learning but I’m going to learning with them. As a teacher, you’re a life learner.”

Cardoza will be leaving IU in March to study in Ávila, Spain, as part of the Global Gateway for Teachers program. His time there will both fulfill his ENL license requirement and perfect his Spanish even more. It also means he gets to study abroad – something he didn’t think he would be able to do before finding the Global Gateway program.

As a fifth-year senior, Cardoza advises future education majors not to overthink their calling.

“Give it a try. I was too focused on trying to get out of here within four years, but I realized that because I took the risk and challenge to go with education, the five years have gone so fast. If you have a feeling, take the risk, take a class and see where that leads you.”