Peter Parra

1. I am currently a high school teacher at Highland High School in Bakersfield.  I have been teaching at Highland for the last twenty-two years.  I teach World History and an AVID elective class this year but I have also taught Economics, U.S. History, Government, and Ethnic Studies in the past.  As far as my own education, I graduated from Highland in 1989, U.C. Berkeley in 1993 (BA Economics), U.C. Davis in 1995 (Teaching Credential), and C.S.U.B. in 2012 (MA History).  Since earning my MA in History, I have taught four U.S. History classes at C.S.U.B. as an adjunct professor.  I was born and raised in Bakersfield and my parents are Pete and Yolanda.  I have one sister and her name is Nicole (she has also taught as an adjunct professor in Political Science the last couple of years at C.S.U.B.).  I have been married for thirteen years to my wife Erin and we have three boys named Pete, Luke, and Isaac.

2. Since I did not earn my MA until almost twenty years into my high school teaching career, my C.S.U.B. educational experiences did not get me my teaching position at Highland.  However, the MA did earn me a considerable increase in salary with the Kern High School District and I am tremendously pleased by that.  Also, the MA allowed me to fulfill a goal of mine of teaching at a university and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity.

3. My advice to C.S.U.B. students would be to give your best effort in everything you do, treat people with respect, be a good listener, and work to share your passions in life.  As far as teaching, be extremely prepared in your lesson plans, diversify your activities, be respectful to your students, show your students who you are as an individual, set high expectations, offer many levels of support, and smile as much as you can.

4. I did not know I would be a high school teacher until after I earned my BA in Economics.  I never took any Education classes as an undergraduate so it was not until I returned to Bakersfield that I decided to give substitute teaching a try before applying to graduate school.  Well, once I started substitute teaching at Bakersfield High School as a long term substitute teacher I absolutely loved it.  I then knew I wanted to be a high school teacher and coach (tennis) for at least a good number of years.  I had no idea I would make a career out of it, but I am tremendously happy that I have.

5. Any success I have had I attribute to my Faith, the support of my family, hard work, treating people with respect, and quite a bit of good fortune.

6. I am enormously proud of earning the MA in History from C.S.U.B.  I was almost forty years old at the time and a little nervous about returning to school after so many years.  I can remember my first graduate class with Professor Orliski and thinking I have no idea how I am going to do this.  Working a full-time teaching job and striving to be a good husband and father while taking these extremely challenging History classes scared me quite a bit.  However, with tremendous support from family, peers, and professors, I was able to read all the books, write all the papers, and give all the presentations.  In fact, I am able to say that the challenge of the program made me a much better teacher and person.  I learned so much and made so many good friends within the program.  Because my C.S.U.B. experience was so rigorous it consequently was so rewarding.  The C.S.U.B. History Department will always have a special place in my heart.

7. My earliest role model was my Dad.  He is the youngest of twelve children and English was his second language.  His whole family worked in the fields so life was not easy.  Somehow though, my Dad realized that education was the key to taking care of himself and his family in the future.  Therefore, with great determination, he became the first one in his family to graduate from a university (Fresno State).  As a young boy, I knew my Dad had faced many challenges but I also knew he did not let those obstacles define him.  My Dad taught me that excuses mean less than a fighting spirit.