Hola, Me Llamo Señor Vazquez

This week The Osprey was lucky enough to interview LOLHS’s new Spanish teacher, Mr. Vasquez and asked him all about his life and his career as a teacher. In the end, we were pleasantly surprised on how interesting and intriguing his story was!

“What made you want to be a teacher?” Mr. Vasquez paused for a moment and though back to what had started his career as an educator. “An experience,” he said. “that I had in…1999.” Mr. Vasquez continued to describe how seventeen years ago, he had ventured to Nepal and was hiking through the snowy Himalayan mountains when he came across a tiny village. He was warmly invited by the teacher of the school in that village. “It was a very poor classroom, very small, and in the corner or this classroom, there was a pack of kids.” Mr. Vasquez was asked to tell the class about his home country, Spain, and when he had finished, the teacher asked Mr. Vasquez if he could donate to the school. “He asked me if I could donate $1, $5, $10, whatever I had, to support the school.” Mr. Vasquez donated $10 and when he returned home, he sent books to the small school and suddenly realized that he wanted to become a teacher. “And that was something that really impressed me, how some people can be so devoted to teaching that even at such a small place, a village, you can make a difference. An that was the reason.”

“What do you enjoy most about being a teacher?” Mr. Vasquez, keeping us interested with his answers, replied, “Learning. I think that if you don’t learn as a teacher, you cannot deliver.” He continued to explain that teaching is all about learning, and to be a good teacher you have to learn daily from your students.”So that is what I like the most,” he said, “to keep learning, otherwise I get bored or I lose interest.”

When we interviewed Mr. Vasquez, we discovered that he has traveled a long way to teach here at LOLHS. When we asked where Mr. Vasquez had grown up, he responded, “I grew up in Spain, on a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea called Ibiza, and it is a beautiful place, very famous, but it still was very isolated  and away from the peninsula.” Although he loved his home, Mr. Vasquez says that he had always wanted to travel the world and see all of the beautiful sights that it had to offer.

“Where did you go to high school?” Mr. Vasquez informed us that he went to three different high schools. “I started as a freshman in one high school, but then they were doing some renovations, so I had to move to a different high school.” He explained that it was challenging because he was around big guys, and he chucked and said, “I was a skinny, small kid, but I survived those two years.” He then moved to Spain, about 500 miles from his house,  “and I lived with my grandparents on a farm.”  Then he said, ” So, I’ve been to three different high schools.” Mr. Vasquez also informed us that he went to the city of Granada for college to study science. “My specialty is geology, and my field was sedimentology and paleontology.”

Prior to coming to LOLHS this year, Mr. Vasquez worked at Haddam-Killingworth High School for ten years, and before then, he worked in Madison Public School and Hartford Public School. He has been a teacher for sixteen years now, about fourteen years in the United States and taught in Spain for two years as a math and a science teacher.

When being a teacher, there are always challenges. We asked Mr. Vasquez about his, and he said that the most challenging thing is you have to teach diversity “through what people want to accept.” But, he also has to teach the things that people don’t want to accept in terms of diversity.  “So,” he said “I guess that we try to always teach what is appropriate culturally and know what is not appropriate,” and he explained that it is also hard to maneuver through what is politically appropriate, and you have to maneuver what isn’t, “but I have to do whatever they tell me to do.”

Next, we asked if Mr. Vasquez had any interesting stories about his years teaching and thought for a moment. “What I can say is I’ve been teaching kindergarden, elementary, middle school, high school, and [at a community college], and I see a lot of similarities between elementary students and high school. They are fun, they are silly, and when I was teaching in elementary, I remember finishing the day exhausted, and sometimes when end the day here with you guys I’m exhausted.” He said. “You bring a lot of energy, but it’s fun.”

When we asked what he liked most about LOLHS, he said, “I like the students’ attitude of learning.” He likes the teachers, and he informed us that he enjoys the fact that it is a small community, so everyone’s relationships are very tight. We welcome Señor Vasquez to our school!