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Math a universal language for former migrant

20140523 Jesus-RazoMISSION—Jesus Razo’s migrant parents worked hard to give him a better life. They were Mexican immigrants and had only received a second grade level education; they were his inspiration to have a career in teaching.

“They were always wanting us to have a better life than they did,” Razo said. “One of the things for me was math, that was the one thing that made sense to me. One of the subjects my parents did know was math; it just made sense to me growing up.”

His interest in math stemmed from the idea that numbers are a universal language; math has always come naturally to him.

Razo has been a math teacher at Mission Jr. High for the last four years. This year he was named District Teacher of the Year for Secondary campuses.

The math teacher graduated from McAllen ISD and attended the University of Texas-Pan American to earn a degree in business. He made the choice to attend a local college to stay close to his family.

Razo was deeply impacted by his family as well as his former teachers who include Gracie Barrera, Eduardo Reyna and Leonel Gonzalez. He added without their techniques and roles as a positive model he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“If I can be a small part of what my parents and those math teachers meant to me, then I would be happy,” Razo said. “It’s been good; I’m just fortunate to be given the chance to part of these kids’ journey.

The majority of the students Razo teaches are migrants; he said he relates to them on a personal level. Working with the migrant population, Razo explained, can be difficult at times as teachers have to wear different hats through the day. He added once you find a way to motivate a classroom, it’s easy from there.

With less than five years under his belt for teaching, the math teacher was humbled and surprised by his Teacher of the Year title.

“I’m still in shock but it’s a good shock,” Razo said. “I love what I do, but we don’t do it for acknowledgement. You have teachers that impact you and to be part of that group…it really hits you.”

Razo said he pushes every day to incorporate an effective learning environment for his students, he added he just wants his students to be successful and better prepared for the future.

“We can’t do this alone,” Razo said. “I’m grateful for the support we get from everyone. The principals, superintendent and the community make us successful.”

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