Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Santiesteban

New teacher at DDCUS


Photo by: Camila Perez

Ms.Santiesteban the psychology teacher

by Mariana Alvarez and Camila Perez, Staff Writers

Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Ms. Santiesteban received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Florida International University in 2021, and is currently pursuing her Master in Psychology with a Concentration in Applied Behaviour Analysis. 

Ms. Santiesteban enjoys reading, listening to music, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends, especially her dog Milo. 

How did you know you wanted to be a psychologist?

“When I was in 10th grade, I took AP psychology, and the class was super interesting. I remember learning about how personalities developed, and how we can be so different even though some of our upbringings are so similar. Even though our biology can be very similar, we still interpret things differently.”

What did you want to be before you knew you wanted to be a psychologist?

“I wanted to study law. I actually went into FIU as a pre-law major and I switched into psych like a semester. Sometimes I still want do law school when I finish my doctorate in psych.”

How has your experience as a new teacher in Downtown Doral been so far?

“It’s been really fun. I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as have because, with high school students, at the end of the day, I’m only a couple a couple years older than you guys. So, there’s been tough moments but the students are amazing, along with the staff, and everyone that works here is super supportive.” 

Were you always meant to become a counselor?

“Initially, I wanted to become a counselor, and I thought that was out of the question but Ms. Ortiz offered me a position to be an academic counselor. I’m going to be counseling for 6th & 7th grade, and hopefully next year, high school.”

What do you have planned for the rest of the year? 

“For my AP classes, I have a lot of cool projects planned, and mock exams to practice for the AP test. For counseling, I have to get to know the students since I don’t know any of the middle schoolers.”

What is something you wish you had done while you were still in high school?

“I wish I had done Dual Enrollment, because even though I finished my bachelors in two years, it would’ve taken a lot less work, and I wouldn’t have had to have loaded up on so many classes because I wanted to finish faster.” 

Why did you decide to become a psychology teacher instead of a normal psychologist?

“Eventually I do want to become a psychologist, but since I haven’t started my doctorate, the best practice for teaching is being able to show others what you already know. I think the best way to know if you’ve mastered something, is if others can learn from what you’re saying.” 

Ms. Santiesteban is swiftly becoming a favorite DDCUS teacher. Her class popularity certainly shows that the work she puts into this class is paying off. It may even inspire a student to pursue a career in psychology like she was, in high school.