SANTA TERESA, New Mexico - Santa Teresa High School classes were led by a lawyer in the state's Attorney General's Office and a water purification specialist dressed in their U.S. Army uniforms.
They are part of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's initiative to relieve the current shortage of substitutes in the state's classrooms.
Gadsden Independent School District welcomed Sgt. Jose Pacheco and Capt. Zach Jones. They say their enthusiasm for students and education brought them to the area to help schools facing staffing shortages. They added they would like to see the program funded and extended.
"My MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) is 91J Water Purification Specialist. Now I have been a sub at Gadsden High, Chaparral Middle School, North Valley, On-Track Pre-K at the GAC (Gadsden Administrative Center) and remote learning class at Desert Pride Academy," Sgt. Pacheco said. "My experience has been great."
Sgt. Pacheco says being a substitute requires a lot of energy. Capt. Jones agrees; he says he uses an energetic approach in his class and tries to develop a bond with the students during roll call, asking each student's name and favorite movie.
"The kids are great, and they take a lot of energy from you to keep up with, especially in the lower grades. The little ones have a lot of questions, and I try to answer their different questions the best I can," said Capt. Jones, adding, "the older kids kind of accept me as a sub; some have questions, but mostly I help them get into their posted assignments."
Both agree their experience in the classroom with Gadsden students has been great since they are polite and respectful at each of the campuses they have worked.