Passion for Teaching the World

Oakmont Teacher’s Explorative Story

Natalie Martinez is one of the current teachers 
at Oakmont High School.

Courtesy of Natalie Martinez

Natalie Martinez is one of the current teachers at Oakmont High School.

Emma Price, Staff Writer

Natalie Martinez is a teacher at Oakmont who teaches many subjects, with her favorite being IB World Religions. This career path is fueled by her experience in different countries abroad.

“My parents lived in Africa throughout my adolescence,” Martinez said. “I lived in Africa too, but they sent me to boarding school in another country. Then, so that I could go to college, [they] put me on a plane to the US alone. I had to figure out how to make my way at age 18 all on my own in a country I was unfamiliar with.”

During her younger years, Martinez grew up surrounded by many other cultures and languages compared to a normal childhood here in the United States. This allowed her to form her interests in everything around her and all the abroad characteristics. Even though she didn’t know what to do with it, she enjoyed the history of it all. 

“I majored in history without a clue how I would use my degree,” Martinez said. Mrs. Martinez’s advisor her junior year in college asked her what she was going to do with her degree in which she responded ‘I don’t know.’ He said that it was not good enough and she needed to pursue teaching. Due to this, Natalie decided the day of her graduation, to sign up for her first professional contract in teaching. 

With the help of those around her in the United States, which at this time was pretty unfamiliar, Martinez was able to follow the path that would both help her follow her passion for history and culture. Due to this, she has been able to pass on that information to her younger audience. 

“Of all my 22 years of teaching, teaching World Religions has been by far the most enjoyable experience,” Martinez said. “I love the kind of student who would want to understand people who see the world completely differently than themselves. Those are a very special group of curious learners.”

The ability to share her knowledge of other countries abroad has allowed her to not only to open a creative outlet for herself, but also spark the curiosity of her students while they are both in and out of the classroom. This specific class allows for not only Martinez and her students to make connections, but also create connections between them and different cultures. 

“Those moments where you see the lightbulb go off, you know the world has shifted just a tiny bit for that person and they will see things just a little differently for the rest of their lives because of the work that was done that day,” Martinez said. “That is the priceless privilege of working with intelligent, inquiring teenagers.”