How the Salvadorian Civil War changed the course of one teacher's life


虽然现在他在体育365官网教书, 齐默尔曼(Sigfrido 齐默尔曼)一开始并没有打算教高中西班牙语. 

他在萨尔瓦多长大. 齐默尔曼 was focused on biology and ornithology, encouraged by an uncle who was a botanist. 从萨尔瓦多大学毕业后, 他开始在当地一家博物馆做鸟类研究学家. He was so immersed in his job that he would routinely clock 16-hour days as he tried to soak in as much information as possible. But the reality of the Salvadoran Civil War would disrupt his dreams of being the first to discover something new as a budding Ornithologist.

因为先生. 齐默尔曼与美国科学家密切合作, Salvadorian guerillas presumed he was an informant for the United States. And because he spent so much time in the country’s forests and wilderness for his research, 萨尔瓦多政府认为他在和游击队合作. With both sides convinced of their presumptions, they searched after him. Mr. 齐默尔曼 had to flee his home, abandon his dream job, and start anew in America.

Mr. 齐默尔曼在萨尔瓦多

Mr. 齐默尔曼作为一名生物学家在萨尔瓦多研究自然栖息地

在到达南加州后,奥巴马说:“我想我的朋友们都来了. 齐默尔曼 returned to further his collegiate studies at the University of Irvine, first studying Political Science before switching to Business Administration. But experiences with internships made it clear the business world was not his passion. 他花了一些时间思考和反思, and he remembered once helping his aunt run a rural school back in El Salvador.

Mr. 齐默尔曼 recalls with reverence his aunt’s dedication to her students, 以及她是如何每天为她的社区带来希望的. 她和她的丈夫会捐赠食物来帮助她的学生解决饥饿问题. They even hired a cook and fed her students proper breakfasts and lunches. 她记下了每一个人的名字, 帮助她的学生进入中学, 高中, 和大学. The result was that many of those once-starving children became engineers and doctors, 非凡的成就是因为, 先生. 齐默尔曼所说, “我在球场上, 你在这里,”的意思, “如果你出生在田野里, 你死在田野里.在婶婶的帮助下, those children did the nearly impossible for any rural family in El Salvador: They broke away from the cycle of poverty.

Mr. 齐默尔曼与学生交谈

Mr. 齐默尔曼在当地博物馆与学生交谈.

在上世纪90年代初,他曾在美国的一家银行工作. 齐默尔曼 saw similarities between those rural students in his homeland and many students struggling against poverty, 缺乏机会, 整个南加州都缺乏拉丁裔榜样. 他自己承担起了“改变生活”的责任.”


在获得教学资格证书后,他开始学习英语. 齐默尔曼 searched for a job close to the school he was studying at - California State University Northridge. 体育365官网, then Granada Hills High School, was less than a mile away. He gathered his credentials and brought them with him to the 高中's main office. 就在他送证件的时候, 学校的校长从旁边走过,进行了礼貌的交谈. 经过那次谈话,校长告诉他. 齐默尔曼 that the school needed a Spanish teacher, which led to an impromptu interview in which Mr. 齐默尔曼当场就得到了这份工作.


当他开始教学时. 齐默尔曼 witnessed many of his students hiding their Latinx heritage as a result of marginalization in society at the time. “如果你否认你的血统, 你不会完整,也不会在这个世界上找到自己的位置,”他说. So he endeavored to instill a sense of pride in his students' cultural heritage as part of his job teaching Spanish language. 

如今,在执教了26年多之后,他开始了自己的职业生涯. 齐默尔曼 continues to elevate his student’s emotional well-being by providing a space for them to be accepted and celebrated for who they are and where they come from. He also understands the inspirational boost he gives his students as a Latinx professor. 在所有的课程和教学时刻. 齐默尔曼和他的学生, 他总是努力为一生的成功而树立榜样, 作为全面负责任的全球公民. These teaching moments that many of his students clearly remember - such as discussions and sharing of personal stories like his own - help students see the value of their history and contributions they can make to society. 

Mr. 齐默尔曼吸引学生

Mr. 齐默尔曼让他的学生参与讨论

“As an educator, it is always fulfilling to see that these kids reach their best in life,”他说. “I always tell my students ‘you are not going to be making money from your bachelor's or master's (degree), 这就是“关键." You never know what’s going to happen in life but at least you will have the “key” to an interview. 如果你没有文凭,你就没有面试机会. 如果你没有面试,你就没有工作.” 

尽管他说抗击疫情是他的工作之一. 齐默尔曼教师生涯中最大的挑战, being able to support his students' successes continues to be rewarding. As 365体育彩票 returns to in-person schooling, he admits to feeling uncertainty and fear. Unlearning old habits is difficult - he is used to walking around his class, or giving lectures from all corners of his room so students in the back are not at a disadvantage. 现在, 他试图坚持在他的书桌上教学, 塑料隔板后面, 戴好口罩.

不过,先生. 齐默尔曼 sees the vast improvements in educational environments and more opportunities for Latinx students since the early 1990s when he started teaching. Then, he remembers, he saw high dropout rates among minority students. 所以随着事情的发展, 他继续着他已经做了近三十年的工作.