TEACHER OF THE MONTH — See the video of Port Arthur’s Luis Chavez receiving special honor

Published 12:32 am Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Luis Chavez didn’t intend to be a teacher.

But after spending one year as an instructional aide at Bob Hope Elementary School, his career path practically chose him.

“I was offered the position, but I wanted more practice, more knowledge before I went into it,” he said.

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“And I don’t regret it. Having a mentor as a teacher was really helpful…and it opened my eyes to the big change we can make with these students.”

Chavez, who teaches 5th grade math at Bob Hope Elementary School, was selected as the February Teacher of the Month sponsored by Philpott Motors. The honor came with a $500 gift card.

“It wasn’t my first choice,” he said of being an educator.

“I came here, I noticed the changes we can make in the students. I noticed how I could help them. I realized the need, the impact that we had with the students. All of those things made me shift towards education.”

Chavez, 24, was born in Houston and raised in Port Arthur. His parents emigrated from Mexico in the 1990s.

Bob Hope Elementary School teacher Luis Chavez, right, receives a $500 gift card from Daren Granger, general manager of Philpott Motors, for being selected as Teacher of the Month. (Monique Batson/The News)

After high school, he became the first in his family to graduate from college.

By using the “Grow Your Own” program at Lamar University, he obtained his teaching certificate. But he’s not through yet. Currently he’s planning to obtain a master’s degree, and later, a doctorate.

“I think being a first-generation student, getting a doctorate, that would be a really good impact — not only to the students, but to my family as well,” he said.

“Your siblings, your nieces and nephews, they see you as a role model. They see that you can make it.”

Campus Director John McLendon said Chavez’ impact has been evident, adding the teacher is always there for his students and never misses work. In addition, Chavez’ students obtain great STAAR test scores.

Luis Chavez teaches 5th grade math. (Monique Batson/The News)

“Every time I see him teaching, he has anchor charts up, his objects are clearly posted, he writes through lesson plans and puts a lot of time and effort into his work,” McLendon said.

“The students in Mr. Chavez’ classroom always behave and you can tell they trust him and confide in him.”

The first year as a teacher is arguably the most challenging for any educator.

Following his time as an aide, Chavez led his own classroom for the 2020-21 school year — the first school year interrupted by COVID-19.

“We didn’t even finish the year,” he said.

“We were getting ready for STAAR, getting ready for the end of the year, having our last events for our students. And then we’re going into quarantine and moving everything online.”

But he adapted and excelled, along with the students.