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Cardinal Connection

The student news site of Melissa High School

Cardinal Connection

The student news site of Melissa High School

Cardinal Connection

Teacher Spotlight: Diana Ortiz

Aubrey Carlson
Students in Ms. Ortiz’s class work on their nesting bowls.

The art department got a new addition this school year named Diana Ortiz. She comes with seven years of experience teaching Art 1, Sculpture, and Ceramics. Her journey as a teacher started at the college level, where she used to teach Ceramics, 3D design, and drawing to college students. However, she has been teaching at a high school in recent years.

“I was inspired to pursue a career in teaching because of the bad teachers I had in the past,” Ortiz said. “I always knew that I enjoyed showing people how to do things, and I wanted to make a difference by being a helpful and fair teacher.”

Ortiz enjoys helping students bring their creative ideas to life. However, she admits that she has faced certain challenges as a teacher, such as pacing lessons so that students have enough time, but not too much time that they get bored with a project. To overcome this challenge, she makes loose deadlines and overlapping projects.

“My teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that all students learn differently,” Ortiz said. “I like to give general instructions with demonstrations and examples and then help students individually so they can work at their own pace and find clarity. I believe in providing personalized attention to each student, and I strive to create an inclusive classroom environment where everyone feels valued and respected.”

Ortiz engages with her students by regularly checking in with them and asking them what their next steps are. If they are off task, this makes them check back in, and if they are genuinely lost, then she can help them from there. She also likes to help students connect their interests to their work, as this encourages them to be more engaged in their learning.

“For students who are struggling in my class, my advice is not to be afraid to fail,” Ortiz said. “I believe that going for it and failing can help students understand the reason for the struggle and find a solution. I encourage my students to power through their struggles and learn from their mistakes.”

One valuable skill that Ortiz hopes students will take away from her classes is the practice of creative problem-solving, a valuable skill they can apply to various aspects of their lives. She also hopes they learn something they can apply to their artwork, even if it’s just for one-pagers or posters they do in different classes.

Outside of teaching, Ortiz has a few hobbies and interests, such as gardening, making art, and listening to music.

“I have a collection of vinyl records, and I don’t own a TV,” she said. “I enjoy spending my free time engaging in creative activities that help me unwind and recharge.”

Some unique things about Ms. Ortiz that students might not know are that she has vaccinated cows; seen Bad Bunny, Josh Turner, and Slipknot in concert; and hiked the Guadalupe Mountain, which is the highest point in Texas and took eight hours to go up and down.

“I think that my interests are all over the place, and I enjoy exploring new and exciting things,” Ortiz said.

Students can best communicate with Ms. Ortiz with questions or concerns by voicing how they feel or what they need.

“I try to anticipate if someone needs help, especially if they don’t want to ask for help or are too shy to ask for help,” Ortiz said. “I am always open to listening to my students and helping them in any way possible.”

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About the Contributor
Keira Barbosa, Reporter
Keira has a creative antic and loves to be creative. She is a junior at Melissa High School and this is her first year writing for the Cardinal Connection. Keira enjoys reading, cooking and drawing in her spare time.

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