China bound: Mesquite teacher takes her teaching overseas

Hanby Elementary fifth-grade teacher Samantha Orosco is one of three Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) alumni to recently receive the First Class Teacher award, which is granted to first-year teachers for their outstanding work as educators. She received her bachelor of arts in education in 2018, specializing in early childhood. Now she and her husband are getting ready to take their teaching to China.

Where did you grow up and attend school?

I grew up in Garland, Texas. I attended Lyles Middle School and Lakeview Centennial High school.

What drew you to the field of education?

My dad, Abraham Orosco, always told me I would be a good teacher, but I never listened. I love teaching because I get to be an advocate for kids. I get to teach morals, love, kindness, discipline, structure, respect ... along with whatever subject I teach.

Why did you choose to work with elementary kids as opposed to older kids?

If we can teach young kids how to critically think they will do it as they get older. If we can push kids when they’re young and show them they all have the ability to learn then they’ll hopefully keep striving to learn as the subjects get harder. The whole point is to show kids they all have the ability to learn – sometimes things just take longer to get ahold of. We want to teach them to endure and to keep pushing forward.

How did you feel about being awarded a first-class teacher?

I feel honored to be recognized by MISD. My principal, Jessica Eaton, did what was best for the kids and set an example for me. The most challenging part is learning to balance all of it.

When are you headed to China?

My husband, Stephen Lawson, and I will be moving to China for a year to teach English. We both have always wanted to go everywhere we could and touch as many lives as we could, so we thought why not? We’re excited to get there and to live and learn from the new people we get to be surrounded by. 

How was your first year and how did SAGU prepare you?

It was wonderful. I felt very supported by all of Mesquite. Our principal was actively involved, and we had a really good reading specialist.

Before I started teaching, I remember praying over the classroom. I prayed for each of the students individually and the team I was on. I learned that – the power of prayer – from SAGU. Thankfully, Mesquite’s leadership also believes in emphasizing values like SAGU. We prayed together as a team and for each other. Whenever things got hard or difficult, I fell back on prayer.

Was there a specific memory or experience from SAGU that impacted you as a student?

Dr. Strange (assistant professor). She was one of my professors and she used to be a principal. I asked her so many questions! There was one time I told her that I felt I am not sure if I am putting forth my best work and meeting my own standards or expectations. She told me, “I am glad you said that. There is an assignment you turned in and I feel like you could do much better.” She made me redo the assignment. It made me realize that she really believed in me and had high expectations of me. That was a moment for me that impacted the way that I teach my kids. I have high expectations of them because I believe in them and what they can do.

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