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A Love Of Teaching Has Kept Beatriz Aguilar Going For 41 Years

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Posted: Friday, May 3, 2019 10:13 am

One would be hard pressed to find a teacher more dedicated than Beatriz Aguilar who has been an educator at Nestor School for 41 years. Over those years her accomplishments have been many. Apart from teaching practically every single grade, eventually settling on fourth grade since 1999, she is also one of the founding teachers of the Nestor School Two Way Bilingual Immersion Program.

As the oldest of nine children there was no question she would graduate from college. Her father only had an elementary school education and knew the value of going to school. “My father’s dream was for all nine kids to go to college,” she said.

All nine of them did eventually graduate from college. When the family moved from the state of Michoacán, Mexico, to San Juan Capistrano, Aguilar was in fourth grade and didn’t speak English. She vividly remembers sitting in the back of the class coloring because that was all she could do. “ It was difficult to leave my friends, the school, the culture and when I came here nobody could understand me,” she recalled.

Within two years she was caught up and finished seventh and eighth grade in one year and attended Dana Hills High School graduating in three and-a-half years. With a few months before starting college Aguilar worked at a bank.

She knew she wanted to go into education and applied to UCSD. “I thought I would find more people like me and in 1974, lo and behold, there were not too many until I was a junior,” she said.

At UCSD she applied to the teacher education program and one of her professors, Gloria Fimbres, who was in her first year teaching at the university, had taught at Nestor School.

“At that time the school was bilingual and being funded by the state and highly regarded,” said Aguilar.

Fimbres sent Aguilar to Nestor School for teaching hours and eventually her student teaching as well.

Aguilar graduated from UCSD with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature/Spanish and a state preliminary multiple subject credential with a bilingual emphasis. She then finished her fifth year of graduate studies at San Diego State University College of Education and received a Masters in Education and Administrative Service Credential.

In the meantime teaching at Nestor School was the perfect match for Aguilar. “I felt at home. It had a large Hispanic community and I fell in love with it,” she said.

Aguilar was hired at Nestor School in 1978 and basically never left except for one year when she worked in administration as an administrative intern for the school year 1989-1990 at Bayside Elementary.

“Even now they can’t get rid of me. I love this place, the people that work here they are so dedicated…everybody cares, the climate is friendly…I love what I do. I don’t see it as work. When I wake up [in the morning and come to school] I do what I love to do,” she said.

As one of the founders of the bilingual program at the school Aguilar is very proud of what she has accomplished. “I told the superintendent ‘look what my little seed has produced.’ What started with two classrooms is now the entire school with more than 1,000 students,” she said.

The bilingual program starts in the kindergarten classes with 90 percent Spanish and 10 percent English and every year the English language teaching increases until it gets to 50 percent.

Despite Aguilar’s love for the school she has decided to retire at the end of the school year. “I feel at my best. I wish I could freeze time and not get older. Last year our principal, who was 40 years old, passed away… I want to spend more time with my family and do things,” she said. “Even though I still have the energy, enthusiasm and passion to continue for an indefinite number of years, the passing of my dear young principal touched a deep chord. I suddenly realized how old I was and that life had no guarantee.”

Aguilar said she has no plans for her retirement as of yet but will take a year off. “In the classroom I’m always on a schedule, time goes by fast…It’s like creating a movie every day,” she said. Because most of her family and friends are still in San Juan Capistrano she sees herself moving back there in the future.

Aguilar has a positive attitude and it translates into her classroom with her students. “I talk to them into making the right decision. I never have problems with my kids. I have a good rapport with the parents. They know they can talk to me. I treat their kids well,” she said. “Students have always been my priority - everything revolves around, and what’s better, for them. I’m outspoken for their rights and not afraid to speak my mind. I have taken action if I saw things were not right.”

Aguilar praised the school and its accomplishments. “We have the best attendance in the district because kids want to be here. We have high scores,” she said.

In 2012 Nestor received a Dual Language Award from the state for their outstanding program. These days she said there is a lottery system to enroll for children entering kindergarten, because so many parents want to send their little ones to the school.

June 4 will be the last day of school for the year 2018-2019 and will also be Aguilar’s last day. She will definitely miss her classroom and her students. “This is like my house. I close the door and the kids are my family. I tell them how intelligent they are, kids react to how they are treated. If you treat them with love, they love you,” she said.

Aguilar has been a master teacher and has had 35 student teachers from Point Loma Nazarene University, National City University, San Diego State University, UCSD and Inter American College.

“Life is a never ending, learning journey and I thank each and everyone of the more than a thousand students that have been in my classroom for the joy and sense of accomplishment that I felt working with them. I have many memorable experiences that I will forever cherish,” she said.

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1 comment:

  • Fiona Fulton posted at 8:22 am on Thu, May 16, 2019.

    Fiona Fulton Posts: 1

    Dedication and enthusiasm towards your work is the only factor that keeps you moving in the direction of your dream. She has done much in the field and helps in writing essay about how you can benefit education by being a teacher. She has so much experience about edu birdie that letting go of her would be a waste. Good thing that she does not plan on retiring any time soon.