Chaparral High School (CHS) is full of hardworking and dedicated teachers, but perhaps the most outstanding of them all is Maria Cristina Gonzalez, who was recognized as 2016-2017 CHS Teacher of the Year. Gonzalez gets along well with students and co-workers alike, which is why it is no surprise that she was chosen by her co-workers as Teacher of the Year.
“We have an awesome science department and I love my coworkers,” Gonzalez says, “The Spanish department is top notch, plus technology, math english, everyone in SPED (Special Education Department), OMG all of them are INCREDIBLE at this school.” Aside from her dedication to improving her students’ learning, she carries with her a cheerful demeanor and a kind attitude. The moment you walk up to greet her, you will be met with a warm smile.
Gonzalez first became a teacher 31 years ago, and has been teaching at CHS for three years, which she has described as “beautiful”. She currently works in the CHS science department as a chemistry teacher. Gonzalez became an educator because, as she explained, “We are a family of educators.” Her mother, father, brothers and sister have all spent time teaching or currently are teachers.
Aside from traditional methods of teaching, Gonzalez enjoys adding a bit of humor and perspective into her teaching. She considers not only her student’s educational advancement, but also their emotions. Gonzalez says, “I try to be super patient and remember I don’t know my kiddos problems, so I have to talk, talk, talk.”
Being chosen as Teacher of the Year has inspired Gonzalez to motivate more of her students to become educators. “It makes me realize how noble teaching is,” Gonzalez says, “I want to tell more of my students to be teachers.”
Though this is her last year of teaching, Gonzalez says that she enjoys teaching at Chaparral high school, saying that her favorite aspect is the one-on-one time with students. Pushing students to be motivated is what she feels she is most passionate about, and she hopes that she makes an impact on the lives of her students every moment that they are with her.