Spanish teacher Eduardo Gonzalez retired at the end of the 2021–2022 school year after working at GDS for 29 years.
Throughout his time at the school, Gonzalez taught several different levels of Spanish classes. He also created the advanced Spanish literature class. He started out as a substitute teacher for GDS and was then offered a full-time teaching position later on. Despite being offered jobs at other schools and universities, he said that he chose to work at GDS because of the school’s philosophy, the diverse environment and the students he got to know through his time as a substitute.
In an interview with the Bit, Gonzalez said that he remained at the school for so long because of “the freedom that GDS gave to me to transform the kids without repression.” Gonzalez said he chose to retire “because I write and I publish. I think that this is the time to pay attention to that more deeply and to also rest.” He said he writes poetry, essays and more, and described that what he writes depends on “whatever comes to my mind that makes sense that I think can be helpful.”
During his long tenure at GDS, Gonzalez witnessed many changes in the community. He said he saw GDS’ commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion grow, noting how important it was to him to be in a diverse community like GDS. He also appreciated how seriously the community took the administration’s commitment to diversity.
While teaching students about the Spanish language, Gonzalez said he believes that it is also important to present them with information about underlying societal issues across the world. His teaching goals were to help students love literature, teach them about the importance of cultural awareness and give them tools to help create a more inclusive society.
Lily Meyer ’09 was in Gonzalez’s class during her sophomore and senior years. She said that Gonzalez “really made a point of teaching us about poets, especially from under-taught countries.”
All four of Gonzalez’s former students interviewed by the Bit described him as a friendly person and believed that his personality positively impacted their experiences in his class.
“He told a bunch of really random stories throughout the year that were just so fun to listen to—just his own life story,” sophomore Sora Walker, who was in Gonzalez’s class during the 2021–2022 academic year, said.
Meyer described a similar experience, explaining that Gonzalez “was always telling us stories from his own life. He was always making jokes at his own expense and teasing us, and that combination created a really warm atmosphere.”
Noah Abramson ’21, who took Gonzalez’s class during his junior year, said that Gonzalez “was always a very funny person, very lighthearted and a very good teacher, too.”
Each of his former students interviewed recognized Gonzalez’s efforts to be kind to students, even outside of the classroom. “I think one of my favorite things about Eduardo is that, even outside of class, he would go out of his way to be kind to you,” Abramson said. “If he saw you in the hallway, he would stop and say hi and just take a minute out of his day to talk to you.”
Gonzalez said he has received several emails and cards from former students expressing gratitude for him and telling him about their accomplishments. He mentioned receiving these emails from his students was something that made him feel very proud as a teacher.
He remembers when one of his former students wrote in an email to him about when Gonzalez used to bring jugo de guanabana (soursop juice) to class when she and her classmates were feeling sad. She told him that she was doing the same thing now with her students in Italy.
Outside of teaching, Gonzalez enjoys gardening, birdwatching, hiking, collecting stones and writing and publishing poetry, essays and other forms of literature, as well as talking with friends and family in Puerto Rico.
The teachers who retired at the end of last school year were announced at the end-of-school assembly on June 1. When Gonzalez’s name was called, the people in the room stood up and cheered to give him a standing ovation. Gonzalez said that he will miss his students because “they make me feel better and be a better human being.”