• Project RISE Teacher Spotlight

    Welcome to the Project RISE Teacher Spotlight! Every month we will be interviewing teachers from various Project RISE Campuses. Stay connected and learn more about educators from across our partnering districts! 

  • February Teacher Spotlight: NEW Teacher Interviews

    Posted by Elizabet Palacios on 2/2/2018 2:00:00 PM

    Faulk Middle School Teachers

    Brownsville ISD - Brownsville, TX


    Faulk Middle School Teachers, Ovidio Padilla, Diane Aurajo, Edgar Diaz

    What is it like to be a new teacher? Project RISE asked three beginning teachers at Faulk Middle School in Brownsville ISD to share their experiences as brand new educators.


    Project RISE: What has been your greatest success and  your biggest challenge so far as a new educator?

    Ovidio Padilla: My biggest success so far has been building relationships with my students and gaining their trust and confidence in the classroom. The delivery of content has been a challenge as a new teacher, but with the help of my Master teacher I feel like I am getting a good handle on it.”

    Diane Araujo: Success is coming back to the school where I learned to dance.  This is where I grew up and the kids can relate to me. My challenge was taking over someone else’s classroom in the middle of the school year and winning the students over. That was difficult. It was difficult because they saw me as very young, but that has changed. I feel like I’ve gained their “love.”

    Edgar Diaz: I think that getting this job has been my greatest success even though I am not fully certified.  I waited a long time to get here.  Also, I think that I have clicked with my students. I have become popular as a teacher. But it is a challenge not having a mentor/coach in the art field to model the delivery of an art lesson. If I had studied education, I think that I would have been able to transition into the classroom more smoothly.


    Project RISE: Is the teaching profession what you had imagined it would be before you started your teaching career?

    Ovidio Padilla: Yes, most definitely.  I had already worked as a mariachi program consultant in two school districts, so I had some idea about the students I would encounter. This was not a surprise.

    Diane Araujo: Yes. I started here as a student, so I knew the population well.  In addition, my study has been in dance education.  Exactly what I am doing now. The only thing I was not prepared for was the size of my classroom.  

    Edgar Diaz: It is easier than I expected or imagined. I think that knowing that I am making a difference for students is what makes it easier.

    Project RISE: How would you describe your coaching collaboration with the Project RISE Master and Mentor Teachers?

    Ovidio Padilla: Wonderful!  My master/mentor teacher has made it great for me.  If it wasn’t for Project RISE I would have been lost.  Project RISE has been very helpful.  The trainings provided have helped me a lot!  I use all the strategies and I really like it.  I think that I am able to keep up with experienced teachers because of this program.  My recent data indicates that I can keep up.

    Diane Araujo: My master/mentor teachers have guided me through my teaching.  We meet once or twice a week.

    Edgar Diaz: Excellent…a lot of support!  I wish support was more in art, but I definitely have been guided to teach. I am very grateful to Project RISE.  I see how beneficial it is and how it helps and improves teaching to improve our students.


    Project RISE: What other supports do you feel you might need to become a highly effective teacher?

    Edgar Diaz: I feel that all support has been provided to me by my master/mentor teachers through their guidance, modeling, and sharing of resources.

    Diane Araujo:  A support that has been provided to me to help me with my teaching is allowing me to visit other schools to observe similar programs as mine to see how other dance instructors are teaching.  More modeling in the area I teach would be helpful.  In addition, the staff and administration have been very supportive of my dancing events.

    Edgar Diaz: I would like to learn more about curriculum so that I could more confidently collaborate with other art teachers and help unify the art program.  I would like to see workshops targeting art and making classrooms fun.


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