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Cesar E. Chavez High School educator named District Teacher of the Year

Music teacher and Band Director of Cesar E. Chavez High School, Mr. Alex Gonzales, was selected as District Teacher of the Year and will now represent the Delano Joint Union High School District in the 2019-20 Kern Country Teacher of the Year Program.

Taking a few minutes out of his day, Mr. “G” answered a few questions upon receiving the news he was selected as teacher of the year.

First thoughts that came to your mind when you found out you were selected as teacher of the year?

I thought “cool” then I thought “why?”.  I thought a lot of teachers deserve this more than I do ...but when Mr. Robles broke the news to me in front of my band students and explained the reasons why I was chosen, I was watching my students faces with pure joy on them and I thought of just the endless hours, worry, laughter and grinding hard work you put into this with your kids to perform at a championship level day in and day out. It was a fulfilling moment. I’m very blessed. It’s my life’s work.

What inspired you to choose teaching as a career?  

Music is a great passion for me and I dig kids so I thought I could be good at teaching eventually with some practice and experience.

What do you love about teaching?

When the light comes on for the students. That time when all the hard work pays off and the kids finally fully understand the concept of “success through failure “inside out. Practicing not only to get it right but more importantly practicing until you can’t get it wrong.

How has your role as a teacher evolved over the years you've been in the classroom?

I think really the most important part that has evolved in my role as a teacher is that after a while the subject matter becomes secondary and "life lessons" that can be learned and taught become essential and more important. Common sense has got to be the basis for all learning.

If you weren't a teacher what would you be doing instead?

Performing music professionally like I was prior to becoming an educator or hard core into coaching football or baseball.

Who was your favorite or most memorable teacher (if any) and why?

I have had a few memorable teachers. My High School Band Director Buck Shaffer was a big influence. My speech teacher and football coach in high school, Bill Jameson, believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. The most impactful teacher I ever had though was my college music professor at CSUB - Dr. Doug Davis. Phenomenal musician, educator, communicator and person. I was 34 at the time I returned to school to get my B.A. so it was a little different being the “old man” in class but he treated me equally and with the utmost respect and dignity. I vowed I would treat my students the same.

Anything else you would like to add?

The last thing I would say is an award such as this is humbling and I am proud to have been chosen. But, again I know of several teachers who are just as deserving as I am. So I accept this on their behalf.