Giving back

MCHS graduate and Spanish teacher Natalie Alatorre gives back to the community that helped her first


Campbell Bitterman

Spanish teacher Natalie Alatorre, who teaching at MCHS during remote learning, has hit her stride now as a second year teacher at both the Freshman Campus and the Upper Campus.

Vanessa Moreno, Staff Writer

Natalie Alatorre stands in front of her Spanish classes delighted to be in person with them for the first time. Her mind travels back to when she was sitting in the same seats her students are now. Seeing her students work hard and asking questions makes her confident in her decision to become a teacher.

Alatorre is a MCHS graduate and a Spanish teacher at both campuses. This is her second year teaching, but her first one in-person. Her interactions with her own teachers at MCHS helped her discover her passion for teaching. Coming back to MCHS was an important achievement for her. 

“I enjoyed helping my peers,” says Alatorre, “that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to go into teaching and why I wanted to come back here specifically. I just want to give back to the community that has helped me so much.”

Her dream became a reality when she found an Indeed posting for a job at MCHS last year. With the help of her former teacher, she was hired right when COVID hit. Her first year as a teacher was spent communicating with students through a computer.

“[Teaching virtually] was very difficult to build relationships,” said Alatorre. “[Students] didn’t really give me their feedback verbally or in the chat.”

Despite the difficulties she experienced, Alatorre is glad to now be teaching fully in-person. This year she is teaching Spanish I, Spanish II, and Spanish for Heritage Learners I.

“I like having students in-person and building that interaction,” says Alatorre. “I’m trying to find that balance between being assertive…while letting them be social too. It’s a weird balance.”

Aside from adjusting to in-person school, she also had to adjust to the new Freshman and Upper Campuses. In past years, all grade levels attended either East or West, but now the freshmen have their own campus. Alatorre expresses that sometimes she wishes the freshmen had more guidance from the upperclassmen. 

“The [Freshman Campus] provides some resources students need,” says Alatorre, “but they don’t have an influence [to stress] the importance of the resources. If they don’t have friends at the Upper Campus or siblings, I feel it’s a little harder for them to take things seriously.”

While teaching at both the Freshman and Upper Campus might seem like two different worlds, Alatorre manages to support all her students. Her experiences as a former MCHS student and a first-generation college graduate are especially useful to her in connecting with her students. 

“Using my experience and being part of the community helps me help them,” says Alatorrre. “I like helping my students and the relationships that we are able to build.”

As Alatorre sees her students sitting in the same desks she used to, she remembers all the teachers that inspired her. Hoping to be an inspiration to them, she continues teaching and using her experiences to connect to her students.