Have you ever visited a room and felt a special energy that made you want to stay all day?
Anyone who enters Jesus Duran’s first grade bilingual room at Marquette School of Excellence will feel that energy.
Jesus maximizes every moment with his students through his strong organization, explicit directions and tight transitions. His quiet, calm, but energetic presence creates a family environment that is safe for students to take risks and try new things.
His career has impacted students all over the world, working in Mexico as a teacher and principal, Cicero as a bilingual coach and now here at Marquette.
As a bilingual anchor teacher at Marquette and one of the more experienced teachers in AUSL, Jesus also has an positive impact on the adults around him. His colleagues had more kind words than I have space for, but here are some of the heartfelt, honest thoughts two of his first grade level teammates shared about Jesus:
He is the best grade level partner a teacher could hope for. I call him a partner because he partners with everyone on our team to help us be the best teachers we could be. He shares his experience through passionate discussions about ways we can better serve our students. He exudes creativity in his delivery and execution of any lesson. “Most of all he desires to continue to grow in his practice by embracing new curriculum, new strategies, and new ideas. Mr. Duran gives us hope that what we do really makes a difference and his presence alone reminds us of why we choose this profession.”
Mr. Duran believes in the value of every opinion and perspective. He makes it easy to approach him for advice, because he is so open about seeking help himself. It’s a joy to work with Mr. Duran, because he not only takes his work seriously, but he is, at the same time, happy, friendly, and he can be counted on for some humor or words of encouragement when they are most needed. Mr. Duran is responsible for much of the laughter in our weekly meetings, easing the stress of the day for the whole team. He also is a comfort in times of extreme stress or disappointment, and can calm nerves with a simple, sincere, ‘don’t worry.'”
I sat down with Jesus to learn more about his education journey, what inspires him to do this work, and what advice he has for the AUSL community.
Why did you become a teacher?
It happened a long time ago. My teachers really inspired me to be in this career but I wasn’t really sure about becoming a teacher. I wanted to do something different like graphic design. During my first years working as a teacher I thought this was just for a few years. But then I realized it made me feel like I was doing something good for the community. I could be doing something different in an office but I thought it was better doing something for the people.
Who inspires you?
Honestly, the kids. I love my students. They are funny, they enjoy class, they laugh, they enjoy what I have to say. They laugh when I make an expression or do something with my hands. My time with my students is the easiest and most enjoyable time of the day.
My daughter’s teacher once told me, “If your child is not happy coming to my room, let me know. That is my fault.”
I took that and applied it to my room.
What advice do you have for your fellow TchAUSL community members?
The first thing is that a teacher should be is a leader. If you don’t know you’re a leader, think about it and become a leader. Your students will follow you.
Every single minute kids are able to learn, even students who face more challenges. Don’t waste any time. Plan your day, follow your plans, make adjustments, differentiate. But everybody is able to learn and don’t waste any of their time.
My daughter’s teacher told me once, “if your child is not happy coming to my room, let me know. That is my fault”. I took that and applied it to my room. I told my parents, “Your child should be happy everyday coming to my room. If they aren’t let me know right away”. I want every child to enjoy coming to my room every single day.