Juanita Flores - Smith

As Interviewed by Zarqa Fatima, March 2, 2018
"Discrimination is part of the fabric of many Americans at the time, and even now it is still part of the fabric of some Americans..."
Juanita Flores - Smith

Introductory Profile: About Juanita Flores - Smith

Juanita Flores-Smith grew up about 45 miles away from the border of Mexico. She was born into a family of 8 kids: 4 girls and 4 boys, her being the oldest. She is divorced and has 2 children. Her ancestors lived in the U.S. territory before the Americans got there, but her grandparents moved back to Mexico. Her parents immigrated to the United States before any of their children were born. For that reason, Ms. Smith is a first-generation American from Mexican immigrant parents.

Before she was born, her dad promised his mom that he would give away his first child if she was a girl. So, Ms. Smith went to live with her grandparents when she was 14 months old and her grandma was already over 80. The agreement was that she would be sent to Mexico and go to a Mexican school, but at the same time be given English classes. When her grandmother died, she returned to the U.S., and when she did was already in middle school.

She experienced being an only child even though she was 1 out of 8 kids, and this shaped her differently because her grandparents had a lot of land and she would help out on their farm and ranch. This taught her to be independent and gave her a different mindset which helped her deal with segregation and racism when she moved back to the U.S. Her education was different because she was more advanced in math and science. Education was better in other countries like the U.S., and when Ms.Smith came back to the States from living with her grandparents in Mexico, she was much more advanced than the average students. She went to college at Mankato State University in Minnesota.

Now, Ms. Smith is a Spanish teacher at Kealing Middle School and values education very much. She teaches her students more than expected to better prepare for the future. Her childhood experiences and independence suits her role of a teacher because she makes her students feel challenged and ready. She tells her students small life lessons about what to expect of the future, which was why I wanted to interview her. While I was interviewing her, she used a lot of emotions to convey her feelings of how she felt at that time, or to describe the actions in more depth. She has also had a few experiences that have affected her, such as when her brother got expelled from school for his whole life because he beat up a teacher who was being discriminative. Overall, she is a very hardworking teacher who believes strongly in education, and thinks that doing the right thing and working hard for something will help you achieve your goal.