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The secret for moving a community forward…
Spark curiosity, teach life-long lessons and take the time to listen
Sep. 16, 2019
The secret for moving a community forward…
Spark curiosity, teach life-long lessons and take the time to listen
Sep. 16, 2019

Juan Espinosa is a fifth grade math and science teacher in Grand Prairie ISD.

This article is part of our Hispanic Heritage Month campaign to honor inspiring educators. Check out other stories like Juan's here.

Sparking curiosity on the reg

As a teacher, Mr. Espinosa makes an impact in the world every day. He strives to benefit his community through his work as a teacher and believes that it is his responsibility to “spark curiosity” in his students and “bring a wealth of knowledge into the classroom” in order to prepare them for their careers and the rest of their lives.

Trying out teaching before committing

Before becoming a successful full-time teacher, Mr. Espinosa gained experience as a long-term substitute teacher. Although he was only with his students for part of the year, the strong connections and relationships he built with them motivated him to pursue the career full-time.

Sharing your passions

Mr. Espinosa’s desire to learn new things and share his knowledge with others fuels his passion for teaching, which does not go unnoticed by his students.

He finds encouragement in a letter he once received from a student who commended Mr. Espinosa’s uniquely passionate teaching. Mr. Espinosa carries this letter with him at all times, because it reminds him that his work truly impacts his students’ lives.

Identifying with multicultural backgrounds

Mr. Espinosa believes that his multicultural background helps him build trust and productive relationships with many of his students. He hopes to provide for his students the cultural understanding that he was not fortunate to experience with his own teachers during his educational years.

Passing on accountability and leadership skills

Mr. Espinosa’s teaching extends beyond the classroom. He started the Gentlemen Qualities Club (GQ Club) at his school in order to teach his students about etiquette and leadership qualities.

In the club, he helps his students learn debating techniques, such as how to disagree with others without being disrespectful. Mr. Espinosa’s work with his students in the GQ club prepares his students to be leaders in their community and in the world, and it “shines throughout the campus.”

Life-long lessons

Mr. Espinosa is fully invested in his students, not only during the time they are in his classroom, but also for the rest of their lives. He feels it is a “beautiful experience” to see his students apply the skills they learned in his classroom to their other endeavors.

"I tell them, 'I don’t care how old I am. You come back and see me.'"

Looking out for everyone in your community

For future teachers, Mr. Espinosa has a few words of advice: While stressing points such as collaboration, professional development and classroom management, Mr. Espinosa also strongly advocates for teachers to take care of their own physical and mental health in order to perform at 100% of their ability for their students.

Becoming masterful

Although the path to becoming an effective teacher “requires a lot of research ... and hard work,” Mr. Espinosa believes that the results are rewarding, and he feels motivated by his successes.

"As a teacher, you have to be a jack of all trades."

What a fulfilling career looks like

Being a teacher allows Mr. Espinosa to make a difference in the world in a dynamic, innovative way. The reward for his dedicated work lasts a lifetime, and he feels fulfilled in his teaching career.

Take your first step

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