By ALYSSA FUENTES and GABRIEL GOMEZ
Ten years ago, Angie Anaya would never have guessed fashion would lead her into education. Yet, the former Delta College instructor and current Manteca High fashion guru can’t imagine herself anywhere else.
Anaya teaches CTE Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising, where students learn about the design process, among other things.
“Understanding the design process, it’s a lot of factors trying to come up with not only a beautiful design but a functional design, and then the last one I think is most important is like is a sustainable design, so we do a lot of that,” Anaya said in an interview with Tower News.
To be certain, Anaya’s career path wasn’t designed this way. She began in the business world of fashion, working sales, purchasing for small businesses, attending trade shows and dabbling in window displays. She received a fashion degree from Delta College.
“I never thought I'd be a teacher – ever,” she said. “Never did I like go to school like ‘I'm going to be a teacher.’ I always loved the fashion industry and so I always wanted to kind of be part of that.”
It wasn’t until a professor at Delta College courted Anaya for a teaching position that she entertained a career in education. It took some serious convincing, though. The professor, Leslie Asfour, was passionate about Anaya taking on a college course; she believed Anaya, with her degree and knowledge, was the perfect fit.
She was right.
“My first response was, I’m not a teacher!” Anaya said. “I don’t know how to do this.”
Anaya was hesitant on taking the job opportunity, but a conversation with her mother changed her decision. He mother told her to just go for it.
“I just tried it, and I can tell you when I was at Delta, I taught there for three years,” Anaya said. “I taught Intro to Fashion Merchandising. I also had Product Development, Event Productions, which was like our class that put on the fashion shows at Delta; and Product Knowledge classes. … I really enjoyed teaching all ages. So, I had students that were like 18 all the way up to like in their 80s, and it was really cool dynamic.”
Her career would take another turn.
Once again, Anaya was encouraged to step outside of her comfort zone and take another teaching position by a colleague, Victoria Brunn.
“One of my responsibilities when I was teaching at Delta was to reach out to the high schools in our area,” Anaya said, “and so one of the high schools was Manteca High. The teacher here, I knew her because we had a mutual friend and so I would talk to her and encourage her to send her fashion students over to Delta and things like that. Eventually she called me up out of the blue and just said, ‘Hey, I'm leaving teaching and I'm going to go work at the district office. I think you'd be perfect teaching high school.’ ”
Anaya quickly declined. She thought of it as taking a “step down.” However, after giving it some thought, she called the teacher back and jumped at the chance to teach with Manteca Unified.
“I love teaching high school more than Delta College,” she said. “… I feel like I'm making more of an impact here with high school kids, and it's just a little bit more dynamic, and energetic, challenging.”
She has words of advice for her students, especially those faced with an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone. Her words come from a place of understanding.
“I always say like we all live in this bubble. It's really easy for us to live in this bubble, right? It’s like everything that we know. … When I took that job (at Delta College), it was like I was in my bubble and then it's like I had to think outside that bubble. ‘OK, can I be a teacher?’ That's way outside my bubble, so I'm always telling my students think outside your bubble.”