First Grade Teacher, Guadalupe Center Elementary School
Salvador Montanez was born and raised in Michoacan, Mexico. He moved to the United States in 2011 when he was a sophomore in high school and graduated in 2014. Salvador attended Johnson County Community College and then transferred to the University of Kansas City Missouri, graduating in 2020. He recently completed his first year of teaching at the Guadalupe Center Elementary School as a first-grade teacher, where he was awarded First Year Teacher of the Year.
What made you want to become a teacher?
When I arrived in the United States with no language, friends, and in a new school, I found a lot of support from several teachers and that really impacted me. Seeing the impact that they had on me made me want to do the same for others, so that and the passion of working with children made me decide to become a teacher.
Why did you decide to teach in the urban core? What excites you the most about this career choice and what excited you about starting your career?
I decided to teach in the urban core because I see myself in the students. I decided to teach in the Guadalupe Center Elementary School because the Hispanic population is very high and for me as Hispanic it is a way to give back to the community.
What excites me the most about this career is the opportunity to connect with the students and see their growth through the year. To be honest, everything about starting my career this year excites me a lot, even the unknown. Things such as having my own classroom, talking to the students every day, creating fun lessons, and just being present in the classroom – I see my goal of becoming a teacher achieved, and that makes me very happy.
What opportunities do you think exist as a result of the changes schools have had to make following the impact of COVID-19 in schools?
As a result of COVID-19 the opportunities that arose included the use of technology, such as new apps, web pages, and new concepts to teach the students and to be creative with them. I have particularly enjoyed using small group virtual sessions where a small group of students will log in at the same time and the teacher will be able to give them their whole focus for that period of time without worrying about the rest of the class at that moment. This has allowed me as a teacher to help that specific group and work on their needs.
How do you think the role of the classroom teacher has changed over the last few months?
I think that the role of the teacher has not changed much because we are still being educators, listeners, mentors, advocates, and many more roles. What did change is the way that we have to fulfill these roles since we are not in the classroom with the students. We must find new ways to access their needs and connect with them.