Makoto Morioka at McCord Middle School

Makoto Marioka
  • Desk. Pen. Teacher. Restroom. Words you might think every student at McCord or Kilbourne Middle Schools have known their entire academic career. But what if a student just recently arrived from Turkey, or Japan or Mexico?

    Enter Makoto Morioka, an English as a Second Language teacher who often finds himself being more than just a language coach.

    They might have a very good background knowledge of their own native language,” Morioka said, “but coming here, I have to start them pretty much from scratch (with English).

    Morioka showed selflessness when several other students moved to the district just before the school year began. His schedule already set, he worked with the principals from his two schools to re-work things.

    Morioka is there to ease an extremely tough transition, and the fact he was once in a similar spot is what drives him to be more than just his students’ teacher. He arrived in the United States for college and had to learn English, eventually earning a graduate degree at The Ohio State University.

    “I guess my personal experience of being a second language learner of English myself made me feel I wish I could do something about it for kids,” he said. “I had a lot of great teachers and I have a lot of great friends, but when I go to school I want to give (students) the same feeling that, ‘Yeah, I can be successful.’”