Makes a really good teacher.
And I learned this morning that the man who taught me 11th and 12th grade English passed away. He was not too old, and no one is really saying what happened. It’s funny, though, because when I interviewed for the job I just took, someone brought him up when they noticed my high school on my resume. This man taught my teacher and went on and on about what a wonderful man he was and how he devoted he was to his students. As he left the panel room, he said, “anyone who was taught by Ron Dominguez is a winner in my book.”
And we all were. He made us feel that way. I can see it by the outpouring of grief on Facebook. And I knew it because he was the one that always came up in conversations when I ran into classmates.
It’s funny how many lessons I carry with me. I’ll never forget:
The day he decided–2 days before our graduation–that one thing we needed to know before entering the world was how hot dogs were really made. It’s valuable information, people.
When he whipped out the lyrics to The Eagles’ “Take it Easy” and went on for an entire class period about how brilliant it was. This is genius, people. You just don’t appreciate it.
How he decided that we should all read “Lonesome Dove.” Because if it’s not classic, it should be.
How on days, he didn’t want to teach, he’d ask us all to open our text books to the same page so that in case someone walked in, it looks like I’m teaching you something.
What he taught me about the integrity of journalism and how he stood by me when we both got in trouble for something I wrote in the school newspaper. I remember apologizing at least five times, but he didn’t care.
But mostly, I remember saying goodbye. He pointed his finger in my face, and he said, “You better do something great.”
After teaching for four years, I realize how extremely difficult it is to make a difference. How hard it is to truly be a good teacher. And what it means to act with integrity.
And I am deeply grateful for the example that I had.
Rest in peace, Mr. Dominguez.