“I must have been 8 years old and it was Take Your Child to Work Day, and her students were reading Their Eyes Were Watching God,” said Gonzalez. “The students were taking turns around the circle and when it came to me, the students insisted that I read. For me that was such a cool moment … being able to read in front of all those [older] kids,” said Gonzalez.
Throughout his teaching career at PHS, Gonzalez has taught all four grade levels and he feels his experiences at the school have caused him to become more patient, understanding, and empathetic.
“You can’t help but translate [your teaching experiences] into your life as a whole. You end up being a teacher everywhere… even though you don’t always want to be a teacher,” Gonzalez said.
Being a teacher, Gonzalez feels he has an obligation to his fulfill the needs of his students. During his time at PHS, he has met and taught an array of students and strives to meet their varying needs.
Gonzalez retains a passion for literature and is able to see the honest impact it can have in the classroom and in society.
“Language is like a currency, we use that currency to change our relationships in the same way that money can. Language is transactionable, whether it’s written down or spoken,” Gonzalez said.
Amidst his time learning about literature, Gonzalez has developed the ability to love all forms of written work. However, he realizes that, at times, there can be a certain character or author that causes some difficulty for the reader’s experiences. Nonetheless, Gonzalez believes there is always something to love about writing.
Literature does not just hold a place within life in the classroom for Gonzalez, but has been drawn out into larger themes that he incorporates into his daily life. One of the most impactful works on his life has been The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This 17th century novel includes the themes of redemption and storytelling — concepts he deeply admires.
“I think we’re all destined to tell our stories forever and ever,” Gonzalez said.
In his freetime, Gonzalez enjoys watching and analyzing film, works of literature, and hopes to publish a novel one day. He also composes music, plays the guitar, and aspires to perform live.
“If I could ask for anything I would want my students to love literature, and to love language and writing. It is empowering, and I think democracy hinges upon it.”