Carmen Escamilla had long dreamed of her children growing up to be well-educated, prosperous professionals. Her son Cande tried to accomodate her wishes by going to law school—until the day he decided to pursue another path.
by Nicole Notare — Posted on Jul 19, 2016
Carmen Escamilla, the daughter of immigrants, wanted nothing more than for her children to be educated and successful professionals. So she took it hard the day her son Cande called to inform her that not only he was dropping out of law school, but he had no backup plan, no idea what path he would pursue.
Carmen came to recognize that she had imposed her own dreams on her son, and before long, Cande decided that what he most wanted to do was follow in Carmen's footsteps in elementary education. Nicole Notare spoke to Carmen about how Cande's change of career direction has worked out.
You've been an educator for 37 years now (quite an accomplishment!): What would you say makes you the proudest about your son Cande being a teacher as well?
As I reflect on my son being a teacher, I am deeply proud of his two most genuine qualities that he possesses as a teacher: his commitment and compassion. He is genuinely interested in each and every student that comes into his classroom. He actively seeks out to ensure that he meets and talks to parents continuously. He volunteers to serve on different committees, so that he can be an advocate for his students and parents.
In this day of rapid tweets and online communication, Cande writes a note to each and every one of his students and parents every month with his observations on their triumphs and near triumphs. His level of commitment is apparent; he works from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. so that his classroom environment is cheerful and conducive, so that all kids are ready to learn.
Do you ever offer Cande advice when it comes to teaching, or do you share tips with one another? If so, what kind of advice?
I have offered advice to Cande in the area of literacy as he formulates his own methodology as an educator. As a librarian, I have recommended titles for his classroom library, and we have purchased some award-winning books for him to read to his class. He is also exploring the possibilities of his class skyping with authors this coming year, so that his students understand the writing cycle better.
Because he was a student in the elementary school where I was the librarian, he has asked me for some of the reading activities that we worked on in the library when students came to visit the library. With his principal's permission, I have visited his classroom twice this year to do bilingual storytelling and to talk about the writing process.
Can you recall a specific story or incident that Cande told you about his teaching career and/or students that really left a positive impression on you?
Cande's students do journal writing daily. Near the end of the school year this year, his journal question was: What was your most memorable memory this year in this class? One young girl wrote that I had inspired her dream of becoming an author when I went to visit them during my storytelling visit. She always had this dream, but thought that this was unattainable for her.
She mentioned in her journal entry that she and many of her friends have started reading more now that they feel that their dreams can come true. I still have that copy of that journal entry that this student wrote this year because even after 37 years, these are the things that continue to inspire my service as an educator.
As for my son, one of the students told him at the end of this year, that his only regret in leaving elementary school was not being in his class next year. Last year, his campus principal told him that it was apparent that his kids' loyalty to him are very evident, and as an educator and as his mom, I totally agree.