California Educator

February 2015

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feedback Y O U R O P I N I O N S A N D L E T T E R S A R E W E L C O M E ! There is a 250-word limit, and all letters will be edited. If you send photos or other materials, identifications and permissions are required. Letters must include your name along with your address, daytime telephone number or email address. Email In San Jose At right is a letter from a student in my ROTC class. This is not about me. This is about us — those of us who are in the classroom every day. She is "that" student. She is the reason we do what we do. TERENCE D'ALESANDRO, GySgt/USMC (retired) Campbell High School Teachers Association In Fremont "That" student was in my fifth-grade class for only a couple of weeks until she was moved to another class while the district worked out the enrollment for the fall of 2004. She came by my classroom every day after school to get help on homework and to get $1 for the taco truck because dinner was late in her house. She ended up at another school the next year, and her teacher was able to show me the essay she wrote all about how I was her favorite teacher. It was really amazing because I felt I was doing so little and it meant so much to her. Wherever she is, I hope she is doing well. KIM LOISEL Fremont Unified District Teachers Association In San Marcos I began my teaching career on an intern credential. Needless to say, I was very overwhelmed and aware of my lack of experience. I feared that somehow I was going to ruin students' desire to learn Spanish and their future success in the language. Jessica was a fresh- man in my Spanish class, and my moth- er had Jessica in her English class. We often discussed how incredibly bright Jessica was. We both admitted that we saved grading her papers for last so they could be our "dessert." She was incredibly gifted and very kind. I always felt bad that I couldn't offer her more challenging curriculum. She ended up going to Stanford with a pre- med major. I often reflect on that year of teaching with some embarrassment at my clear shortcomings. So when my mom called me years later with some news about Jessica, I was shocked. Seven years after Jessica was in my class, my mother ran into Jessi- ca's mom in the supermarket. When my mom asked about Jessica's career plans, her mom said that because I inspired her, Jessica decided to dou- ble-major in Spanish so that she could open a medical clinic specifically serv- ing the low-income Spanish-speaking families in the Bay Area. Jessica taught me that we might never see the impact we have on our students or how many people they might reach because we commit to their education. KATHRYN NELSON San Marcos Educators Association Editor's Note: We had quite the response to the "About that student" perspectives in the December/January magazine. Here are a few more submissions. Thank you, Gunnery Sergeant D'Alesandro. You are truly an inspiration and a downright amazing man. I remember in our first few weeks of class, we were asked how many real-life examples of good leaders we had. If I were asked that same question again, I'd know my answer: Gunnery Sergeant D'Alesandro. Gunny D, I would like to thank you. Thank you for giving me confidence and teaching me discipline. Thank you for making class fun and always inspiring me to do better. Thank you for teaching me how to take myself lightly and learn how to laugh at myself. Thank you for all those times you pointed out all my mistakes — not to embarrass me, but help me per- fect my drilling. Thank you for always being so kind and funny. Thank you for always giving good advice and caring about your cadets. In our world, it is so hard to find people who truly care about others and their well-being, and it is nice to know you do. Thank you for your sense of humor. I am very thankful for this because you're always cracking a joke every couple of minutes and making us cadets feel a little bit less stressed when learning or perfecting moves. Thank you for all the help. Thank you for your attention to detail and always, ALWAYS making us cadets seek better for ourselves. You taught me to not settle for anything, but instead strive for perfection. You taught me you can be serious, yet still have fun. You taught me that no matter what, you can survive whatever it is you're going through. Thank you for what you've done for both our country and the students of the MCJROTC pro- gram. Thank you for the life lessons, Gunny D. I can honestly say there's not many people like you in this world. We need more Gunny Ds. 3 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 6

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