Mexicans Hired To Teach In Bilingual Classrooms

Javier Reyes is a first grade bilingual teacher at Raguet Elementary and Jorge Hiriaet is a kindergarten bilingual teacher at Fredonia Elementary. Both are from Monterey, Mexico. NISD administrators traveled to their home city to hire them, something Houston has been doing since 1996.

Director of bilingual education, Dan Stanley explained, "There are so many people there that are looking for a second career. The first one just didn't work out or didn't pay enough. So many of the teachers that we met were making such an increase with beginning teachers pay. They're ready to ditch everything and come on up."

Reyes is a biologist, but led a youth environmental program. "It's a big challenge for me to travel to another country and to teach my people, Mexicans. It's a pleasure to be here, but it's also a challenge," he said.

Hiriaet was an industrial engineer for 20 years with General Motors. His children are in the United States and he followed. Hiriaet said, "I think this is a good opportunity to work with the Mexican people who stay here and to continue training the children in this country."

Both men are on work visas, but they can seek American citizenship.

The teachers are assigned to the younger students to help them fully develop their native language. Then a second language comes easier allowing everyone to reach higher levels.