Hasta Pronto, Eduardo!
Eduardo Gonzalez wielded a quiet influence during his 29 years at GDS, his wisdom and supportive energy guiding so many of his high school students through lessons in Spanish literature–and in life.
Before retiring in the spring, Eduardo played many roles beyond “teacher.” He led several student trips to Cuba and one to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. For 20 years, he took charge of the High School’s Latino Assembly, a tradition he created from scratch in the late 1990s. He served as a coach for the GDS baseball team at one point and as the faculty advisor for the Spanish club as well as HOLA, the High School’s affinity group for students with Latino/a/e/x heritage.
Along the way, Eduardo influenced the trajectory of many students’ lives.
Lily Meyer ’09 credits Eduardo for her career choices. “I became a literary translator in part because of him,” said Lily. “I always had the feeling that I was learning both from him and with him. I never stopped reading Spanish-language literature after taking Eduardo’s class.”
Eduardo’s support extends to the present day, said Lily, who released an English translation of Peruvian writer Claudia Ulloa Donoso’s Little Bird. When Politics & Prose bookstore featured Lily’s work at a recent gathering, Eduardo was there to cheer her on.
Lucie Johnson ’23 said she’s drawn to Eduardo’s engaging style of teaching. “He always had an extra story to tell us or life lesson to impart,” Lucie said. “I really looked forward to every class because he always seemed genuinely happy to be teaching us, even when we were just doing grammar review.”
Eduardo first visited GDS after receiving a PhD in History, Literature, and Ideology from the University of Maryland. He found in GDS a community that allowed for authenticity and self-expression. “I always appreciated that at GDS I had the freedom to be myself and express my feelings,” Eduardo said. “And GDS gave me the freedom to teach my way and respected different points of view.”
His success at GDS comes in part from his focus on building a relationship of mutual respect with his students. Eduardo also values punctual feedback. In his nearly three decades at GDS, he returned quizzes, tests, and exams to students by the following day.
“The first things I do in a classroom are to make the students feel comfortable, trust me, and be ready to work hard,” Eduardo said. “Little by little, I raise the level of challenge without causing stress so that students are developing good habits of learning and academic study. I am teaching them to teach themselves.”
Eduardo may be out of GDS, but we’ll definitely spot him on campus given that his wife, Maribel, remains chair of the World Languages Department. He, therefore, leaves us with the same parting words he had for his students at the end of each class: “Hasta pronto, muchachos y muchachas. ¡Adios!”
Eduardo Gonzalez works with GDS maintenance team member Moris Melara and former Assistant Head of School Crissy Cáceres during a GDS service trip to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
from former Associate Head of School Kevin Barr
I often think that we don’t really change that much as we grow older, we just become ever more ourselves. In some cases, that’s a bad thing. In others, though, it is a very good thing. In the case of Eduardo, it is a great thing. Third Head of School Gladys [Stern] used to say the kids are only interested in knowing two facts about their teachers: do they know what they are talking about and do they love them? In the best of all worlds, the answer is yes. From the very first time, Eduardo stepped into a classroom at GDS, it has been the best of all worlds for his students and his colleagues. My daughter often said that Eduardo’s class was the toughest class she ever took at GDS and one of the best. He taught her to think and to feel, to realize that language was a tool that could unlock cultural doors that might otherwise remain forever closed. Eduardo believes so deeply in students’ abilities that not rising to his expectations is not really an option. His muchachas and muchachos, as he calls them, dwell in an ethereal realm, fed with deep thinking and the development of a social conscience. From our conversations, I knew that he was doing in his class everything we were trying to do in our upper-level English and literature classes, and he was doing it in Spanish! And when he came into my class to share his love for the poet Federico García Lorca, who loved Walt Whitman, and helped me teach Lorca’s “Ode to Whitman,” I too caught a whiff of the wonder that was this man. Eduardo will step into a much-deserved retirement. Te saludo, Eduardo.
- Engage Ethically
- High School
- Take Risks