The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Mr. Diaz Cultivates English Learning by Teaching ESOL

Wanting to give back to the program that initially helped him, Mr. Diaz’s story is one of determination in breaking language barriers
Barbara Teixeira
Mr. Diaz translates an English passage into Spanish for the ESOL students, as they write new vocabulary words shared on their cellphones.

Moving across continents, from Colombia to Miami, at just 16 years old is not an easy task. From arriving in the country of freedom and having to learn English at Coral Gables Senior High School, one Cavalier stands out in linguistic achievement: Mr. Jhon Diaz. Insinuating with confidence in challenging his hardship, Mr. Diaz returned to his alma mater after three years, with a sense of purpose, to give back to the program that helped him exceed: English for Speakers of Other Languages.

ESOL is a program that helps students learn a standard level of English. Emphasizing a sense of common linguistics, the program is important because all core classes and electives at Gables are taught in English. It acts a beacon of help for students in it, as having a moderate level of English can cause setbacks in learning.

Starting his Cavalier journey in 2016, Mr. Diaz worked hard and regularly did extra work, going above and beyond to achieve his goal of being a well-rounded student and getting over the language barrier. Diaz heavily credits his teachers, which helped shape him into who he is today and fed his motivation to keep striving to learn English.

“You always want to go back to your roots and thank the people who helped out. Teachers have a big role in society, they are the ones who shape you and help guide you in the right direction,” Mr. Diaz said.

Having graduated in 2019, Mr. Diaz persevered with learning by taking classes at both Miami-Dade College and Florida International University. Getting a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Social Media, Mr. Diaz decided to give back to the program that aided him in the beginning, with his ultimate goal being to provide the inclusion of all ESOL students. He sought to teach them in a way that they could comprehend, relate to and benefit, in overcoming English.

“I know how hard it is for students from other countries to integrate into a new school because they’re like, ‘I’m here, my professors don’t speak my language, I’m failing classes, I’m stressed and I need help.’ So, ESOL programs are useful to provide help for students to not only get their grades up but also to make them feel more confident in themselves. That’s what we want, because after ESOL, they become regular students, then they graduate, go to college, work and ultimately give back to the community, just like I [do],” Mr. Diaz said.

Showcasing what it means to be a true Cavalier by assisting students in a similar situation, he uses different methods to motivate them. Driving his students to be self-motivated, Mr. Diaz explains his class as more of a “college class” where his students have the freedom to engage in discussions about the topics covered, such as understanding math concepts. He recognizes the importance of teachers, regularly checking up on his students and guiding them through problems they might be experiencing in school, whether they be mentally or physically.

“I think he’s a very good teacher because he is so friendly. Mr. Diaz has also helped me with other classes, tutoring me in their subjects. With this, he made me feel more comfortable in the school and with learning topics other than those in his class,” sophomore Maria Hernandez said.

Returning to where it all began, Mr. Diaz now teaches students who were in his spot just years ago. Pursuing what learning offers, he plans to earn his master’s degree in Digital Analytics this upcoming January. Above all, Mr. Diaz’s true inspiration and purpose is to help his students excel at a greater pace, in challenging the task ahead of them.

“I always loved helping people, specifically students because it’s something that inspires me, it makes me smile and it gives me a purpose,” Mr. Diaz said.

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About the Contributor
Barbara Teixeira
Barbara Teixeira, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Barbara Teixeira or Barb, as most people call her, is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program. Barbara joined CavsConnect to further her love of writing and to be able to bring her perspective to the Cavaliers through writing. She loves talking, so much that she speaks four languages. What seems like an advantage often gets her in trouble in class for talking to her friends too much. Barbara loves traveling, surfing in her hometown Rio de Janeiro and listening to music. Some things on Barbara's bucket list are backpacking around the world, seeing Frank Ocean live and getting 300 community service hours before graduation.
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