Jose Rios Middle School's Quintin Duenas says although he had always wanted to become a teacher, it was a swim coach who gave him that extra push. "My coach really pushed for me to try different things and one you find something you are interested in. Not settle, but to go for and be better and more effiecient," he explained.


Duenas, who is currently an English as A Second Language social studies teacher for the Piti school, says he has always had a fascination with history and as for ESL. He recalled, "I chose ESL because I told myself I wasn't going to settle and I wanted to be challenged."


In previous years while in the Army, Duenas had taught English for two months in Ukraine and says it played a factor in deciding to teach ESL. It gave him the opportunity to not only teach the English language but also content he loved to his students from Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, and Pohnpei. "The goal is to raise the curriculum that they come in with and eventually move them into a regular classroom," he said.


And like any teacher, he does have his share of challenges noting parental involvement. "Some don't have cell phones, some don't have computers at home...it becomes a challenge to reach them so a lot of time we do home visits and allows us to become more personal with the student and fully understand where they're coming from," he added.


Ultimately, Duenas says translating his teaching to real life comes through to his students. At the end of the day, his hopes for his students is simple: "If there is just one thing that I've taught them, that they can remember for their rest of their life. If one day they can look back and say, 'Hey, I learned about maps or about longitude and latitudes from Mr. Duenas', then that will make me satisfied."