ESL teacher impacts students from unique backgrounds

Isabelle Keever, Print Editor-in-Chief

With stories unknown, English as a Second Language students can struggle to share and have their voices heard due to the language barrier. Determined to help all students succeed, English and ESL teacher Margarita Cruz assures that she will listen. As a graduate and product of Tomball High, Cruz works diligently to improve the program in the district.

“I teach English I and II, and have ESL students in my classroom,” Cruz said. “I try to help all students find success in and out of the classroom.”

Inspired by her ESL teacher back in school, Cruz knew that teaching would be the perfect fit for her. Due to her experience in the program, she decided to continue the positive impact it can have on students.

“ESL students don’t have as much support,” Cruz said. “This is why I aim to build relationships with them.”

Though she chose this career in order to help and teach students to find success in and out of the classroom, she found that they had just as much to offer her.

“I learned from them and they taught me to have a different perspective,” Cruz said. “My view on the world changed.”

Many of her students come from other places seeking refuge in the United States, including war torn countries and areas with major gang violence.

“A lot of these kids have been through serious things,” Cruz said. “I hope to bring normalcy to their lives and be a part of their journey.”

Not only does Cruz want to expand the horizons of her students, but herself as well. She plans on earning a master’s degree for teaching ESL.

“I want to know how the brain works and acquires language,” Cruz said. “Just having exposure to the language will not lead to comprehension.”

As the English I team leader, other faculty members have pointed out the abilities of Cruz, such as English department chair Janet Stackhouse.

“She is intuitive, dedicated, willing to help and crazy smart,” Stackhouse said. “I often say I see her as the future.”

Through working closely with Cruz, Stackhouse realizes her gift with teaching and helping students from many walks of life.

“She has a natural gift as a teacher and knows what the kids need,” Stackhouse said. “For some of the newcomers, she acts as a lifeline. She is the reason some come to school, and she provides a safe place for them to feel accepted.”

Cruz takes pride in her role in many students’ journeys, and has taught those who went on to attend various colleges and trade schools.

“I feel lucky to know such an amazing group of kids with unbelievable stories,” Cruz said. “To talk to them and really hear what they have to say makes a huge impact on me.”