#LatinosTeach, Recognizing Adán A. Juárez Córdova


Adán Aries Juárez Córdova is in his second year as a 7th grade math teacher at STRIVE Prep Green Valley Ranch in Denver, CO. In his college years he tutored in various Philadelphia public schools and participated in a non-profit organization that trains college students to teach Spanish to elementary school students. With great enthusiasm, he joined Teach for America. He now uses his unique story to inspire my students and help them reach their full potential.

Why do you teach?

When I think about why I do anything I look to these words by Cesar Chavez, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community [instead] our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” With that, I cannot hope to obtain success for myself without first uplifting the two beautiful communities of which I am a part. In addition to being a Latino, I am also undocumented, and so I teach to dispel the stereotypes that the ignorant throw about so carelessly. I teach to diminish the dropout rate that proportionally leans on students of color. My goal is to assure that every student knows that they can achieve whatever level of education they desire and that nothing, not even their immigration status, should ever bar them from it. I also feel that the gaps in learning that an overwhelmingly amount of students have are completely unacceptable. I look to fill these gaps so that I am truly developing a diverse global human capital from which the world we live in can only benefit.

What do you love about teaching?

I love the fact that I get to interact with students and their families every day. It really excites me how the Green Valley Ranch community openly welcomed me into their fold. I love hearing my students set both short-term and long-term goals and then celebrating when they achieve them. I love engaging in conversations about oppression and arming students with the tools to combat it. Most of all, I love how my students have come to terms with the idea that school is not a punishment, but rather an opportunity to learn new things and really develop their interests. I have taught them to value education and they have committed themselves to achieving the impossible. Now that makes all my hard work worthwhile.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?

It would be unfair to name one teacher when I had several that really changed my life trajectory. From the first day I entered a classroom, my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Zamiska, took a special liking to me, really pushed me to master the English language, and was the first to nurture my talents. Ms. Martin, now Mrs. Getz, really challenged me and never once dared to lower the expectations even when I was failing to meet them. I thank her every day because it was that dedication to my education that helped me enter the gifted and talented education program. When I think of my own math instruction I can only hope to be half as good as Mr. Tran whose daily reminder that we were “crazy young fools” made those difficult algebra and geometry concepts enjoyable. Mrs. Jue taught me to love my quirky antics and never to let anyone change me. Mr. Rivero showed me the importance of having a mentor. Mrs. Bartolotti selflessly showed me so much unconditional positive regard and made me feel valued. Mrs. Shuck and her predecessor, Ms. Dinh, taught me a new language and love for the classics – Virgil, Cicero, and Ovid. Mrs. Cardoza taught me to love literature and analyze it so that I could see its influence in everything around me. And finally, Ms. Giuliani was that person who made my parents understand that my future lied outside of California, in an Ivy League school. She held my hand through the college application process and moved mountains when I thought my undocumented status would keep me from a college education. I have been blessed with inspirational teachers and I hope that I embody them honorably as I inspire my students.