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Tyler Morning Telegraph - Galdámez brings church planting, education experience to Grace Español

Here are two articles written by Emily Guevara ( Twitter: @TMTEmily)  on our background and on  Grace Español .   Tyler Morning Telegraph...

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Sunday, June 09, 2013

Notes from Children

For the last four years or so at the end of the year, I ask students to write on a notebook anything they
want to say to me. Being the last year teaching, and since my students knew this, they wrote some thoughts for me. I've published some before. Here.

Why do this? Teachers don't often hear how they have impacted their lives. I wanted to avoid this from the beginning of my career. I wanted my students to share the good and the bad, but especially what they learned. It gives helps me see that the time I've spent teaching has been worthwhile.

Here are some unedited excerpts:

  • "Dear Mr. Galdonut,  Thank you so much for teaching me this year! I learned so much. You have a great seance of humor. You also tell great stories, I learned alot of Language Arts and the Blooms Taxonomy of Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Analysis, Application and Knowledge...I know everyone from our class will miss you, God has a place for everyone where he is right...you are strong, compassionate, gentle, respectful, pleasing, humorous, ambitious, and many more..."

  • "Thank you for teaching me new ways of doing things. You are very HUMOROUS, HUMBLE, GENTLE and BOLD. Thank you for also pushing my limits and showing me my courage and what I'm capable of. You are a GREAT teacher. You are great at having fun and also smashing down boys! I love how you have A LOT of books."

  • "Dear Mr. G, Thank you for a very good year. I learned a lot. You wanted me to be a great reader, and it worked. Now, my mom and dad are very proud of me because I read for fun...I liked how you liked me a lot. Also, the Bloom's Taxomy was very interesting.  I wanted my writting to always be critical thinking."
  • "Dear Mr. G., ...I really enjoyed my time with you.  I liked how you sometimes forget to do the pledge and don't do traditional American thing because my Grandpa is from Ecuador use to try and blend in...But your stories are what I'll miss the most."
  • "Dear Mr. G. Your the best teacher I had and when I say that I mean it... You have been a great teacher and you dissever to be treated right."
  • "Dear Mr. G, I have to say, this was the best school Year I have had. It couldn't have been without you. You were the best teacher I have ever had."
  • "Dear Master Galdonut...You will always be my favorite teacher...I hope you will be a good pastor..."
  • "Dear Mr. G, Aurivua! Thank you for such a great year! Even though you gave us a lot of work (ha!) It was still fun. I will miss you!..."
  • "When I first got here, I was sad because none of my friends were here and I didn't want you as a teacher. Now I couldn't want anyone else as a teacher. You are a great friend and mentor. I will miss you..."
  • "This was a wonderful year. I learned a lot from you...You gave me many privileges this year."
  • "Dear Mr. G, You were such an AWESOME Epic teacher this year...Thank  you for all you've done this year for us and especially me! (that was misspelled)."
  • "Dear Mr. Galdonut, At the beginning of the year I didn't like reading. Now I love reading."
 I also received a few from parents confirming what students have said.

I will surely miss you! I've loved everyone of you! You have changed me also. Forever!

Friday, June 07, 2013

I Am A Teacher

I am a teacher by calling, choice and genetics.  My grandmother had her own school and as far as I know that's all she did. As I was growing up in El Salvador I didn't give much thought on being a teacher but I know I had a curious mind. I wanted to know, to  understand, to share with others. When I came to the United States I was still young and it was in the 80's when I joined a church at the age of 14 that I began teaching. I had just become a Christian and I excited about sharing what I was learning with others. I began teaching an adult small group class along with our youth pastor. Then I moved to teaching our youth group's Bible study on Monday night for a number of years.  I do recall the first time I spoke using a more public forum (standing in a podium).  It was during chapel time at our church's school when I was in 9th grade. My notes were prepared to teach a group of children. I chose a horrible topic which was probably not appropriate for them (and do not wish to say it). My knees were shaking and I was sweating. I did finish but it was difficult but I enjoyed teaching.

I continued to be involved in church and I often taught in Sunday school and during the evening services once a month or so. In retrospect, I often think how did I dare to do this when I was only 15 years of age. Nevertheless, God in his sovereign will allowed it.  I loved teaching and could not have enough. When I was in community college I had all intentions of becoming a teacher as well but one class kept me from pursuing my single subject credential in History. Thus, I continued teaching at church until I was married at an early age and finished my AA. My desire was to be a pastor so our family decided to relocate to Arizona so I could go to Bible school for two years. We did. There I also taught in churches as well. When we moved back to California I felt ready to take the calling of a pastor and we found a place that could sponsor us as church planters. We began our work in 1995 and for six years we toiled hard to get a Hispanic church planted. It was difficult being alone and not having the man power to help us. During this same year I began working on my M. Div. and in 1999 I completed it. I started substituting to supplement our income and decided to work on my teaching credential. In the year 2000 I started working full time as a teacher. As difficult as it was, I loved it. I vowed to not be just a teacher, but one that would change children's lives.

I continued being both a pastor and a teacher until December of 2001. That's when I came to the conclusion that I would be a full time teacher. I wrote: "Lord, I hope I have honored you today. I have given you what you have given me. If you ever give it back to me I don't want it to be the same. I want to be better." 
"I know you will be a great minister"

It was in January 2011 when God guided to teaching the Bible and became involved with a youth group for one year. At this point I began to pray that God would lead me back to ministry. 

It was in this year when I began working at a private school. I had prayed for a good place to teach and God answered. But I told the Lord, "I only want to do it for no more than 2 years and then I want to be back in ministry." I could not see myself spending the rest of my life not serving Him completely and teaching children. It is hard to do both, one will receive the focus more than the other. After I finished the first year at this school, I thought I could probably do this longer but little did I know God would remind me the next school year what I said to Him by bringing a series of circumstances that would spin out of my control and help me understand that I am His. His alone.

Being a teacher for me has never been only about academics or just imparting head knowledge inside my classroom but showing them to love learning and life from the heart. I shared to students from my heart and personal stories were the best medium for it. I have gotten to know them and listened to all of their stories and experiences (parents should be careful what they do and say). I visited many students in their homes, given countless books, given things from my classroom, laughed, cried together, gone to graduations and kept in touch with a number of them. Yes, I have been looked upon as "unorthodox," "controversial," and many other titles, but never has my love and dedication for children being questioned.

Thus my journey of 7 schools, three districts, one charter school, one private school, one University and ten classes teaching children and young adults, has come to an end.

Yesterday, I closed my classroom door one last time. Now I wait for Him to open a new door. The door to serve Him. Once it is open, I have no intention of ever closing it again.

But I am still a teacher.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Our Son's Letter to his "Mami"

My son wrote me a letter not too long ago. He wrote a letter to his "Mami"(this is the way he addressed it in the envelope letter via mail). It was all in Spanish and it is quite good, I must say. I agree with everything he writes about my wife, his Mami.
My son and his "Mami" in Belgium

Here are some excerpts:

 How he values mom influence and family:
"Te quería escribir para decirte y explicarte cuanto te aprecio y todas las maneras en que has formado mi carácter. Se que sin ti, no existiría ni sería el mismo hombre. Es especialmente importante reconocerte y honrar tu influencia en mi vida ya que no estaré debajo de tu provisión....créeme que ustedes son lo más importante de mi vida..."

Mom's greatest virtue:
"Es imposible reconocer la totalidad de amor que posees y la gracia que Dios demuestra en ti. Si pudiera escoger una sola virtud en cual Cristo se glorifica en tu vida, sería tu servio incondicional a toda forma de gente. Desde niño recuerdo tu gran amor. Me acuerdo de las mañanas tempranas que conténtamente dedicabas  a hacernos el desayuno como nos gustaba..."

How mom loved even when her husband was immature (immature? me?):

"Tu amor para con nosotros (mi papá, hermana, y yo) no cambio con el tiempo; aunque mi papá no era perfecto y le faltaba madurar cuando se casaron, seguiste amándolo y siendo fiel al Señor."

How his mom honors her parents:

"Otra forma por la cual has dejado una huella profunda en mi vida es la manera en que siempre honraste a tu papá y la manera en que sigues honrando a tu mamá."

 How his mom has helped her husband be sanctified:

"...entiendo que una esposa que teme a Dios afila a un hombre come el fierro afila al fierro, y Dios la usa para santificar y formar a un hombre mejorado. Que dios te ha usado para mejorar a mi Papá es obvio..."

How his mom led him to faith in Christ:

"Sobre todo, siempre recordaré (aunque no recuerdo la fecha exacta) cuando tenía cuatro años y me llevaste a mi cuarto y nos arrodillamos al pie de mi cama, y oramos que Cristo entrara a mi corazón. Desde entonces no soy el mismo."

 How he will never leave is mom's teaching:

"Mami, no abandonaré tus  enseñanzas (Proverbios 1:8). Al contrario, instruiré a mis hijos (Dios quiera) en al amor de Dios y servicio a él."

His love for mom:

"Gracias Mami, por todo lo que has hecho por mi. Te  quiero mucho..."