From Newcomer to MLB Scout


Click below to hear the newcomer to MLB scout story:

Imagine being 15 years old and moving to a new country where you don’t speak the language and being without your family. That’s exactly what today’s guest did when he signed a contract to play professional baseball for the Cincinnati Reds in July 1999. 

Damaso Espino was born in Panama in 1983. He loved playing baseball, and when an opportunity came along for him to play professionally and continue his education, he courageously walked through that door. Just 2 weeks after signing the contract, he left his home and his family to set off on a new adventure. 

He lived with one of the coaches and was placed in a private school where no one spoke Spanish. Although it was a good school, they were not prepared to support Damaso, who knew absolutely no English. Damaso had always been a good student and a tough kid, but it wasn’t long before he was feeling anxious and overwhelmed. On the verge of giving up, a conversation with his grandpa gave him the determination he needed to keep going and figure it out. 

This episode will show you from a Newcomer’s perspective how important it is to build relationships with your ELL students and meet them where they are so they can feel comfortable from the very beginning. As an ELL teacher, you really are changing generations. You’re changing communities. You’re changing families through educating that one student you have in your class.

Damaso had a 15-year career in the Minor Leagues playing for 5 different organizations, including the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Royals.  

He graduated from Saint Stephens Episcopal School in 2001 and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management from Grand Canyon University. Currently, he serves as an International Crosschecker/Supervisor for the St Louis Cardinals. Damaso married Haley Herold in 2011, and together they have 2 daughters. Ximena Espino (6) and Analia Espino (3). They reside in Panama City, Panama. 

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Damaso’s upbringing in Panama and what led to him signing a contract to play professional baseball when he was only 15 years old
  • What Damaso experienced as a newcomer who knew no English at a private school that had no resources to support ELL students
  • How Damaso found the courage to keep going even when it seemed like going home was the best option for him
  • How watching TV helped Damaso learn to comprehend and speak English and how he thrived in his academic classes once he unlocked the language
  • Damaso’s advice and encouragement for teachers who are working with ELL students, especially Newcomers

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More about Equipping ELLs:

We all know that teaching isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be this hard. Equipping ELLs is a podcast for both ESL specialists and homeroom teachers who are looking for effective and engaging ways to support their English Language Learners without adding to their endless to-do list. Tune in each week to hear tips, strategies, and inspirational stories that will empower you to better reach your ELL students, equip them with life-long skills, and strengthen relationships with colleagues and parents.

Your host, Beth Vaucher, is the founder of Inspiring Young Learners. She is an ESL certified homeroom teacher with over 10 years of experience teaching in the US and internationally. Her background of M.Ed in ESL and Curriculum and Instruction combined with her experience has led her to develop a bestselling newcomer curriculum that has sold in over 90 countries around the globe. She brings a different perspective to teaching ELLs from her years teaching and living abroad and working with ELLs from around the world. You will walk away from each episode with the ideas and tools you need to transform your experience as a teacher and cultivate a thriving and welcoming environment for your ELL students.


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