Name: Gabriel Angomás
Education: Columbia College (master’s in urban education); Keller Graduate School of Management (MBA)
Born and raised: La Romana, Dominican Republic in 1966
Position and Start Year at IAMS: Middle school math teacher (grades 6-8); 2004 at the old building
Why are you in education? In reality, two reasons: The first reason is life happened. I was unemployed, and there was a vacancy as a teacher. I’d never done it before; never thought I would do it. My undergrad degree is in civil engineering. There was a time Chicago Public Schools was looking for bilingual (Spanish/English) graduates in any field to fill positions in teaching and allowed them to later on pursue a degree in education.
The principal at Falconer Elementary School gave me a chance to teach and in order to get hire told me to go home with a bunch of books in Math, Social Sciences, Science, Language Arts, etc. to study and told me to come back the next day to teach a class. The principal asked the students, “Did you like him being your teacher?” and the students responded, “Yes!” and that’s how I was hired.
The second reason and more important: Why did I stay in education? I love it. It comes naturally to me to communicate the principles of math to middle schoolers, and it is a lot of fun to see them grow as persons and learners.
What are some of your hobbies and/or interests? Painting. (It lets me use my engineering background and mix it with art.) Photography. Graphic arts (I like to do a lot of putting pieces together, like I did with the picture in my room of Wrigley. I couldn’t find one I liked, so I took a lot of photos and put those pieces together.) Reading. Home improvement projects.
What are the traits you most admire in others? I think that one trait is when people set high goals that are hard to obtain and out of their comfort zone. That’s one of the reasons that when I’m doing this unit on baseball, I have a poster of Jackie Robinson posted in the room. He fought to play, but he also fought for himself. Anyone can set goals for themselves: a teacher, someone in business, a stay-at-home mom. People should have a goal each day.
Who has been the largest influence on your life? I’m a Christian person, so I would say Jesus. Also my dad, Luis, and my Boy Scout Scout master, Luis Rodriguez.
What do you believe your main role is as _____? I would put my main role as a parent. It’s to leave a legacy for my kids, a legacy of lifelong principles, hard work, being respectful, and responsible—and also to make something of themselves. I want my kids to find their passion—whether that’s teaching or being a car mechanic or whatever they want—and then to be the best that they can be at that.
What do you think is the greatest benefit of being bilingual? I see it as a benefit in the sense of being able to communicate in the culture that we live in. Being bilingual means you are proficient at expressing your ideas and your knowledge but also at making the connection to your own culture. Language is the way you keep that culture going. You also need language be able to be successful in the culture at hand, which for us is the United States.
Last updated 4-30-13