New Teacher Spotlight: William “Joe” Crain


(Photo: via Joe Crain)

Kendall Claar, Co-Editor-in-Chief

William “Joe” Crain is currently a Spanish 3-4 teacher, having just been hired over the summer to fill a recent vacancy in Centreville’s Spanish Department. He has only ever taught Spanish, but has done so for all levels; furthermore, he has been teaching for eighteen years, all in North Carolina. Being a Spanish teacher, he has traveled to many Spanish speaking countries, including Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain. He is also helping with Centreville’s Human Rights Club, a club that sets out to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community here at Centreville. However, he hopes to become more involved in the Centreville community as he acclimates to the area. His interests outside of school of teaching include trivia, travel, game nights with friends, bowling, spending time with his beagle, Bijou, and his cat, Phoebe.

Originally from Burnsville, North Carolina, a small town just northeast of Asheville, Mr. Crain moved to Wilmington, NC for his undergraduate degree at UNC Wilmington. He then moved to Raleigh, NC, where he earned his master’s degree at NC State University. Curious as to the sudden move, I asked him what brought him to Centreville. “My car? Seriously, I was ready for a change in my life. I’ve lived in [North Carolina] my entire life, and I wanted something new/different. A position opened at [Centreville High School] and I decided to go for it.”

(Photo: via Joe Crain)

When I asked him about his career prior to teaching, he responded with his usual comedic wit. “Before becoming a teacher, I was a college student studying to become a teacher. Before I became a college student, I was [a] high school student dreaming of becoming a teacher. Before I was a high school student, I was a middle school student – just trying to make it through the awkward middle school years, but still aspiring to be a teacher. Before that, I was an elementary [school] student playing school with my stuffed animals, focusing on becoming a teacher…” and on and on, until he was merely a concept in his parents’ mind. When I asked him to clarify, he said that his only career has been teaching. I was surprised, as many teachers don’t often start out thinking that teaching is a career for them. 

Curious as to why he decided to teach Spanish, I asked him what the inspiration was. He responded, saying that “When I was young, we used to visit my mom’s family in South Florida. It drove me crazy that I couldn’t understand a lot of the people, so I decided to learn…I look at Spanish as a way of opening doors to this beautiful and amazing culture [that] I have learned about. Now I get to share that with others and help them to appreciate it as much as I do!” And what is his inspiration for being a teacher in general? “Coming to work every day hoping that I will inspire my students to be good people, to be productive citizens, and to change the world for the better.”

His inspiration in life is “[his] mom who encouraged [him] to never give up. [His] brother and sister who showed me how to persevere through all challenges, and [his] grandfather who cheered me along the way. [And furthermore,] all [of] the amazing teachers [he] had as a child who instilled in [him] a love of learning and who showed [him] that just one person can make a difference in the world, one smile can change someone’s day for the better.”

To close, I asked him to share his best teaching teacher memory. “I can’t list just one, but the moments in my career where we move beyond just teaching Spanish and discuss how our actions influence the world always stand out. I have had the privilege of teaching so many different people and my hope is that at least one point in their time with me, I encouraged them to be the best they could possibly be.”

Mr. Crain is my Spanish teacher this year, and I am so glad he is. Everyday, I look forward to his excitement, enthusiasm, comedic wit, and ability to tell it how it is. For someone who was unsure about whether to take a fourth year of Spanish or not, Mr. Crain removed any doubt from my mind, as he has discovered the right combination of having fun and learning at the same time.