CSUSB Alumni Spotlight: Crystal Rodriguez
Office of Strategic Communication
Teaching has been Crystal Rodriguez’s dream since she was a child. But the Cal State San Bernardino alumna didn’t know how deep her passion was until she saw the teachers working.
Now in her fourth year as a Dual Language Immersion instructor at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Riverside, Rodriguez began her trek toward teaching while attending community college.
Being close to home, Rodriguez helped out with her family, including watching her older sister’s young children and helping them with their studies. She enjoyed working with the children’s teachers and looked for ways to help the children succeed, especially her nephew, who in kindergarten had been diagnosed with autism.
“Seeing how much dedication and hard work was put in by each of his teachers to make sure that his needs were being met and that he could succeed in school was a life-changing experience,” Rodriguez said.
Determined to get a teaching credential, Rodriguez completed her general studies at the community college then transferred to CSUSB. One of her instructors there was Professor Nena Torrez of the Department of Teacher Education & Foundations, who asked if Rodriguez ever considered a multiple subjects credential with a Bilingual Crosscultural Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) authorization, which allows teachers to instruct students in English and in a second language.
“Within a week of having learned about the BCLAD, I was more convinced that my purpose in life was to be a teacher, but to also share the gift of language that was passed down to me from my parents and the generations that had passed.”
Rodriguez switched to a teaching credential with the BCLAD authorization. The credential ultimately led her to teaching first-graders in English and a second language at Jefferson Elementary.
“I love my career and everything that it brings,” Rodriguez said. “My journey is far from over, but I have enjoyed every moment of it as of now!”