Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Passing

Very seldom do you meet someone who turns out to be both a mentor and a hero at the same time. When I was in teacher education at the University of Alberta they had us attend a talk by Jamie Escalante, a teacher who worked in the inner city barrio's of Los Angeles. His talk was inspiring and has influenced how I taught ever since.

I have his autograph on my trapper keeper and have a letter he sent to me after graduation that basically reminded me that everything I did in the classroom must be about the kids and never about me. My dad had the same kind of advice.

If you have seen the great movie 'Stand and Deliver' then you know his story.

Jaime Escalante, the East Los Angeles Math teacher made famous by the movie Stand and Deliver, has died after a battle with cancer.

The subject of the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver,” Escalante died at his son’s home in Roseville, Calif., said actor Edward James Olmos, who portrayed the teacher in the film. Escalante had bladder cancer.

“Jaime didn’t just teach math. Like all great teachers, he changed lives,” Olmos said earlier this month when he organized an appeal for funds to help pay Escalante’s mounting medical bills.

Escalante gained national prominence in the aftermath of a 1982 scandal surrounding 14 of his Garfield High School students who passed the Advanced Placement calculus exam only to be accused later of cheating.

The story of their eventual triumph — and of Escalante’s battle to raise standards at a struggling campus of working-class, largely Mexican American students — became the subject of the movie, which turned the balding, middle-aged Bolivian immigrant into the most famous teacher in America."

It is easy to find hero's in movie stars or pro athletes but it's the simple people who do the 'good' work, necessary work more often. Who with love, elevate others and not just themselves. These are the true heroes to me. Goodbye Mr. Escalante. I will be sure to turn out the class light when I leave. Clink on the link below for a more detailed story.,0,4111731,full.story


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'm sad to see him go. He was the kind of hero we need more of.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I totally agree. Great man.

Sam G said...

Very sad. Indeed a Hero in every sense of the word.

California Keys said...

It really is sad.... He did so much for so many.

Leviathud said...

The world would be a better place if more teachers had that kind of passion for their proffesion and the lives it touches.

Megan said...

A great teacher is remembered forever by all who are taught by him or her. So sad that there are so few of them.

There's this great mural painting of him, over off Alvarado by Macarthur Park. I need to get a picture of it...