Mayor Julián Castro praises teachers as school year begins

Telling the story of his one semester as a substitute teacher at Jefferson High School, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro told teachers preparing for the upcoming school year that he knows the impact they can have on students. He also implored them to continue their push toward making the city's education system top-notch.

Castro gave a brief speech to teachers on Tuesday, August 16, at Carlos Coon Elementary in the Northside Independent School District, praising them for their work and talking up the SA2020 initiative.

The mayor, re-elected by a wide margin to his second term last May, told of the time when he was 22 years old and in between college and law school. He worked as a substitute teacher at Jefferson, the same school where he and his brother, State Rep. Joaquin Castro, both graduated. Castro had been asked to take a permanent substitute role after a teacher left for health reasons. In one class, he said, he had to make a decision about trying to find out who tossed a paper ball at him and how it would affect his standing with the students.

"I'm sure you've had that happen at least once," he told the crowd.

He eventually said he ignored the thrower and instead focused on continuing the lesson. Castro also said he added to his real-world knowledge of the current education systems as his wife, Erica, is a math specialist at another elementary school in the NISD.

After receving a standing ovation at the completion of his speech, Castro was asked what can be done to ensure students who receive strong educations locally and depart for higher education eventually return to San Antonio. He responded by saying it was important to engage businesses to bring jobs that catered to all education levels, especially those requiring extended learning.

Watch Castro's entire speech and Q&A session below. For political wonks like myself, he's asked the question of his political future, but there's no breaking news in how he responds.