ASU education grad takes teacher role to heart


Jennifer Priest Mitchell

Carolina Moreno takes her role in the lives of students very seriously.

“As a teacher, you really can be the whole world to someone,” said Moreno, who graduates in December with an undergraduate secondary education degree in Spanish from Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “Some days, some people feel like they want to cry. It’s frustrating. And yet it is so very rewarding and you go forward, knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life.”

Moreno grew up in Mexico, where she had some very influential teachers — people who helped her realize the important role teachers play in the lives of different students. To some students, a teacher becomes a role model. To others, a teacher is an advocate; the person they most trust with delicate questions or issues.

“I had many very good teachers when I was growing up, but I remember two in particular who were helpful and who influenced me in my decision to become a teacher. My high school psychology teacher was that person who, if students had trouble with anything, they would go to her. She would help kids with any problems. She was a good teacher and listener,” Moreno said.

“My world history teacher connected well with students, and he really made us want to learn more. I knew that I wanted to be that kind of teacher. He actually visited ASU and spoke here as our guest when I was a student ambassador for the college. He is the kind of person who makes people want to learn more and to do their best.”

What’s most important?

“Definitely connecting with students is the most important aspect to teaching,” Moreno said, "getting to know them, and being passionate about teaching, not just about your subject. Letting students know that you care and helping them to become lifelong learners. Those are very important parts of a teacher’s role.

“Sometimes you, the teacher, are the only person a student can come to with something. They trust you. There was one student who was in danger of failing. He came to a teacher, and that teacher really made a difference.” Moreno says the fact that a teacher really can be “the whole world” to a student and truly make a difference is what is most important.

Moreno started college at Chandler-Gilbert Community College where she earned an associate degree. When she transferred to ASU, she needed additional Spanish prerequisites and then was able to attend Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. She has worked with both middle and high school students in the Tempe School District while attending ASU and enjoys both very much. Moreno looks forward to securing a teaching position after graduation and hopes to eventually become a department chair and also earn a master’s degree.

“I am interested in eventually being a school counselor,” she said, but emphasized that she wants to continue her own education and feels as excited about learning as she hopes her students are about learning new material.

“Recently we were putting together a childhood unit, and I found an old picture of me as a child, playing with my brother and cousin … playing school. I was the teacher. I always wanted to help others … and to be a guide and help people understand things. That is what I get to do every day as a teacher.”