An Afternoon with Michael Diaz

A father, a husband, a chemistry teacher, a lawyer, an expert builder, an aspiring novelist, and a mentor to all of his students - these are the traits that embody the topic of my interview: Michael Diaz. Students often fail to realize that teachers are only human and they do have a life outside of school, and thus I decided to go right to one of the most well known teachers in Truman to disprove the stigma that staff members are merely machines.

Michael Diaz is one of the all-stars of the Truman staff, who, when he’s not working hard with his chemistry classes, enjoys home improvement projects, birdwatching, and, most of all, parenting. He states, “My kids are the most important thing in the world to me. Anyone can be a parent, but not anyone can be a good one.” With his five year old daughter and nine year old son, Diaz says that he tries to be a role model for them everyday, whether it’s supporting his daughter’s tap dancing career or coaching all of his son’s after school sports. With the help of his wife, Michael works hard to “raise well-adjusted, empathetic kids - ones that will grow up and give something to society.”

Diaz says, “There’s no substitute for hard work” - and he is a perfect example of where hard work can get you. For years he attended night classes while still teaching, and he considers receiving his law degree and becoming a certified lawyer to be one of his biggest accomplishments. He says, “A lot of people go to college. A lot of people graduate college. Not a lot of people go back to school and still succeed, so I’m very proud of myself and very thankful for my wife and my family for allowing me to accomplish the things that I felt I was meant to do.”

Michael Diaz has a lot of hidden talents. Besides being a recreational sports star and a committed bird watcher, he likes to spend his time making furniture and doing construction projects on his home. “I like building things, taking stuff apart and putting it back together - anything with my hands, really.” He recently built a magnificent table out of old barn wood and plans to add an extension onto his house this summer - by himself. “I do everything. I build the frame, do all the layout and the sanding and the leveling and stuff. I might have my son do some nails just to show him how it’s done or hire a truck to pick up my supplies, but besides that it’s all me, and I encourage other people to do the same. You need to be able to work with your hands. Nothing can make you feel as accomplished as doing it yourself.”

Aside from all of his other feats in life, Diaz wants to add another big one to the list: writing a novel. He says, “I don’t have exact plans yet, but I have a lot of stuff written down and I feel like I should do it. Like, it’s just something I’m passionate about.” Whatever it’s about, it’s guaranteed that this reporter will be a reader.

Michael Diaz is clearly more than just a teacher, as there are few avenues of his life that he has not already conquered - not to mention his achievements in years to come. He said, “My life? It can’t be that interesting. I don’t think it would make the best article.” Clearly, he was wrong.

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