The subject that found me: Mr. Adrian on why he became an AVID teacher


Photographer: Cristina Orozco

Mr. Adrian in AVID focusing on teaching a lesson to the students in class.

Gabriella Sevieri, Staff Reporter

Most teachers go into teaching planning to teach a well-known subject like math or science, but what happens when a teacher is asked to teach a subject that he didn’t even know existed? AVID teacher Joe Adrian is a teacher that has taught multiple subjects but took a chance on teaching AVID. Now, he wouldn’t change that decision for the world. 

“At first, I didn’t know AVID and naturally it sounded like more work, but I saw that it was about more than the content,” Adrian said. “It was helping kids do better, letting them know that sometimes life is hard and there is a caring person there for them.”

Adrian started his teaching career as a middle school social studies teacher. After about three years, he moved to Austin and taught at Canyon Ridge, Liberty Hill and Four Points before taking the AVID position at Vandegrift. 

“My youngest daughter was going to be a freshman and I thought, ‘Okay, maybe this is a sign that came over for me to teach AVID again,’” Adrian said. “The thing is that I don’t know if I decided to teach AVID. I think AVID found me.”

AVID is a class that focuses less on content and more on the well-being of the students. The class works on college readiness, organizational skills, mentoring and studying tactics. 

“For me, [AVID] is harder than content, because with content, I still care about my students but it focuses mostly on mastering the work,” Adrian said. “But in AVID I care more about how the students are doing, not just in my class, but all the classes, in extracurriculars and outside of school.”

Adrian has had experiences where his former students have become teachers because of him. For him, that was one of the best experiences while teaching AVID. 

“I’ve had several students that have become teachers because of me and that’s a really huge compliment,” Adrian said. “I think the main reason I’ve stayed a teacher for so long is helping people to have a more fulfilling life over all.”

According to Adrian, being able to teach high school students has kept him young. 

“Where you guys are at, the overall feel of high school kids, you guys are at the verge of becoming adults and for most kids your age it’s your zest for life,” Adrian said. “High school is exciting: the energy, music and thinking you know everything and first loves and second loves and dances is exciting. You guys are like a mirror to me and it keeps me young.”

Enjoying life has played a big part in Adrian’s life. He has 2 daughters, who both went through Vandegrift and now go to Texas A&M University. 

“I’m an old guy on paper but I think I’m young at heart,” Adrian said. “It’s important to remember that age is a mind set and if you have a young exuberant mind set, you will always be young. There are so many people that close shop when they’re older.”

Adrian said he cares deeply for all his students and has gone through the years having many kids who thrived in his class. In all his classes, he checks in with students and he explains that caring for the kids is an important part of his success in teaching. 

“Am I successful with all the kids? No. Do I want to be? Oh yeah,” said Adrian. “I know that because I’m human, I can’t, but I still give it my best shot and sometimes I make mistakes or the kids don’t like me so much, but I think my heart is always in the right place.”