IDEA Teacher Spotlight: Adrian Castro, Math Teacher, IDEA Academy San Juan
My name is Adrian Castro, and I am a 2nd grade math teacher at IDEA Academy San Juan. At IDEA, there is never a dull moment nor a time when we, teachers and students, aren't challenged to perform at our highest level, which is what genuinely makes me proud to work for such a determined network. Our slogan "no excuses" goes a long way with both staff and scholars. IDEA has high expectations, and this is definitely illustrated through our student success, data and a focus on academics and character building.
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One thing I appreciate most about working at IDEA is the value the network places on professional development and coaching. "You have to start somewhere and continually develop" is what many people have told me along the way. Little did I know, that in just two years, I would have my own classroom impacting students’ lives on a daily basis and teaching a rigorous, high-quality curriculum. But, I didn’t get to this point without a lot of support and training.
My journey at IDEA began as a 21st century specialist, working with the San Juan Saints after school program and teaching several extracurricular activities, including football and basketball. A few months after working on campus, the assistant principal, Jessica Sylvester, gave me the chance to substitute before officially offering me the opportunity to join the faculty and become a 1st grade language co-teacher.
In this role, I loved to challenge my students and use real-life situations to connect the material so they could understand the importance of the subject. Most students don't know why they are learning certain objectives, so clarifying and teaching the content to their understanding really helps them comprehend the information at a faster pace.
Following a successful year in the classroom, Melissa Finch, Principal of Instruction, promoted me to my current 2nd grade math teacher position. I was inspired to learn from, and connect with, my colleagues to help me develop in this new position. I appreciate that my colleagues continually exhibit Team & Family, one of IDEA's core values, through their support, advice, strong grade-level relations and continuous campus communication. Not a day goes by where I have unanswered questions or concerns.
IDEA is comprised of great leaders and mentors that are there to help you reach your fullest potential. Starting off as a 21st century specialist, I received excellent training from the coordinator and staff. It was very informational and prepared me to work with the students in extracurricular activities. When I became a teacher, I received in-depth curriculum and goal setting training, during the summer, that prepared me with the skills and materials I needed to begin teaching—familiarizing myself with the type of rigor that was provided for the kids and analyzing how the information connected to the curriculum.
Following the summer training, I participated in additional professional development that focused on comparative data and trends to help us more effectively close the achievement gap and improve or modify our teaching methods to ensure we are achieving student success.
There is always room to grow and that’s exactly what the summer, and weekly, professional development opportunities and trainings at IDEA have provided to me. These opportunities enable me to learn and collaborate with colleagues and school leaders; challenging me to become a better educator and provide the highest quality teaching that every student deserves.
Yes, I’ve faced obstacles as an IDEA educator, but I’ve been provided with the tools and support to overcome these challenges so I can be a great teacher for my amazing students.
IDEA Public Schools has made a huge impact in my career thus far, and this is positively reflected through my teaching. IDEA helps brings out the best in you and shows you just how capable you are of living up to your fullest potential and effectively prepare students on the road to and through college.
You, too, can tap into your fullest potential at IDEA Public Schools. Apply now for open staff positions at IDEA!