Porfirio Alvarez was on vacation when he was called in to substitute at Ignacio Zaragosa Elementary for a teacher going on maternity leave.
It was his first time subbing—or teaching, for that matter—but he felt a calling to cut his vacation short and take the opportunity. Much to Alvarez’ surprise, that one day subbing transformed his life.
Meet A Top 100 Teacher, a Hub feature that spotlights one of Dallas ISD’s Top 100 teachers, checked in with Alvarez in his classroom at William Anderson Elementary School.
Why did you become a teacher?
While subbing, I established a strong connection with those students that changed my life forever. Since a missionary gave me the opportunity to make a life here in the U.S., I wanted to be involved in mission work. And after that day subbing, I realized that teaching is mission work, too. A month later, I quit my job and prepared myself to become a teacher.
What is your background?
I was born in Choluteca, Honduras. When I was a young man, I worked for World Relief, helping refugees from Nicaragua. There I met Jack and Shirley Dyer, missionaries from Baton Rouge, LA. They are loving and dedicated to giving a helping hand to any person in great need. They noticed potential in me because of the way I worked and related to people. As a result, they brought me to the states and assisted me through college. I went to Lee University with a full soccer scholarship.
What do you hope your students take away from their time in your classroom?
I want them to go home knowing the material, of course. But above all, I want them to be exemplary citizens who are wise, disciplined, responsible, and have pride in what they do.
How do you motivate and inspire your students?
I discover their potentials and use them to cultivate their individuality. I build them up and I make them feel intelligent. I can relate to a lot of the troubles that my students go through. If they see that I was able to work hard and succeed, they feel inspired to succeed, too.
What one bit of advice would you give a college education major about what it takes to be a successful teacher?
I would tell them that effective teaching comes from the heart. If one feels a calling to teach and share that care and compassion to the students, then one can truly make a difference in their lives.