Sunday, September 7, 2014

TeachThought 30 Day Blogger Challenge- Day 7

TeachThought 30 Day Blogger Challenge- Day 7

Talk about your most inspirational colleague. 

I want to share my most inspirational colleague with you all. Fernando Mendoza.

This is a young boy who left Havana in 1959 soon after the Cuban Revolution. This is a young boy who, with his brother and parents, came to the U.S. with nothing but suitcases in hand and a hope for freedom and a better life. This is a young boy who did not speak English when he arrived here. 

This is a young man who worked hard, put himself through school and university and who became a high school Spanish teacher so that American students could come to appreciate his language, his culture and his country of Cuba. He loved every single one of his students and they loved him.

This is a man who believed in America, in the goodness of its people and of all we have here and talked about it often. This is a man who was my mentor when I arrived at York and who taught me so many things about classroom teaching and about life. This is a man that showed me that I have an extended "family" at York and of the importance of supporting each other. This is a man who always believed in being kind and gentle with people.

This is a man who loved a good cup of coffee: black with lots of sugar. And who drank lots of it. This was a man who loved to laugh and who took time out of the busy "papeleo" of school work to talk and bond with others because according to him, that part of school was important as well. 

This was a man who was always waiting to go back to his beloved Cuba. But he never got a chance to return. But I know that he is "home" in many senses of the word, or at least that is how I envision him every day as I pass his picture in our language hallway. I see him walking along El Malecón, looking out on the Havana coastline with a smile on his face, a Cuba Libre in hand, waiting for others to come and join him.

I know someday he and I will again chat about teaching, politics, late night TV and life in general. But in the mean time, I can only hope he knows how much I learned from him as I pass on his lessons to new teachers entering the profession. I can only hope that I do him proud. 


1 comment:

  1. Wow Beth! Fernando sounds like he embodied all those qualities that make a great teacher. His legacy definitely lives on in you and the others he touched.