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News from the Foundation

Posted: February 5, 2015

For JDC Teacher, Each Day Is an 'Opening Act'

Rene Luna is the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month.

For Rene Luna, a teacher at the Juvenile Detention Center and APS Continuation School, it's all about building a community of learners.

"As teachers, we have to learn how to show our students respect, and in return they will do the same. It is important that we model the behaviors that we expect. My satisfaction comes from earning my students’ respect and making a difference in their educational lives," said Luna, this month's Pepsi/APS Education Foundation's Teacher of the Month.

Luna has been teaching at JDC for three years, though he also worked there as an educational assistant and student teacher.

"I appreciate and value the students and what they bring to my classroom," Luna said. "Each day is an opening act. You do not know what is to come, but you definitely have to be ready."

Luna, who is fluent in Spanish and comes from a Mexican background, said he likes to share his Chicano culture with his students including the music, food, art, and literature.  

"In my youth I was fortunate to have been a military brat, which gave me an exposure to and appreciation for different languages and cultures," he said. "I encourage my students to bring 'who they are' to class. Our classrooms need to reflect our students’ diversity."

Luna, who has an 18-year-old son,  described a good day as one when he leaves the classroom feeling like he has made a difference in the lives of his students.

"A good teacher must be a good listener," he said. "It is very common for one of my students to stay after class and ask to talk with me. The topics range from academic information to very personal and life-impacting issues."