by Jennifer Mistrot and Elizabeth Cook
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Angelina Tatyana Brand believes the lessons learned during her challenging childhood can be a ray of hope for San Francisco students encountering tough times of their own.
The 26-year-old San Francisco native's back home, armed with a bachelor's degree from UC Santa Cruz and master's degree in teaching from USC, and ready for a classroom of her own.
"I recognized a need for teachers who understand what kids in the community are going through, and who's willing to listen and be empathetic towards them," said Brand of her career calling. "That is why I really want to be a teacher is I know how hard it was growing up in certain situations."
But Brand's drive towards teaching is rooted in more than just neighborhood changes. Her own childhood had its challenges.
"I grew up raised by my grandparents, my Abuelitos," recalled Brand. "I've always felt loved by my family but my upbringing was not one that I would wish on others. I grew up with a lot of domestic violence, alcoholism and predetermined statistics. My mom had me when she was a teenager and my dad has been incarcerated for as long as I can remember."
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Brand struggled at school too.
"I've had teachers who just didn't understand, you know, why I couldn't turn in my homework at certain times," said Brand. "Because they didn't understand that the night prior I had to physically defend my mom or I had to leave home in a rush because of an outburst fueled by alcohol."
Inspired by her own early educational experiences, Brand loaded her college schedule with extra courses and graduated USC with a special education credential.
Time spent during the pandemic student teaching on-line and in the classroom, along with a past stint as a program manager at the non-profit 826 Valencia rounded out Brand's resume.
But it's Brand's love for her city and its children that keeps her close to home. She just finished her on-boarding to be a substitute teacher for the San Francisco Unified School District , and she hopes to teach at a Title 1 school.
"I became a teacher to help where needed," said Brand. "And so that is important to me."
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