Teacher feature: Gerardo Torres

Sarah Allard

Out of all the portable classrooms on the blacktop, most students would agree that this one feels particularly different. The soft, yellow lights of the lamps in the corner evoke a sense of comfort as you find a seat inside, and the electric chatter of the students constantly within is exciting and welcoming. The wallpaper of posters throughout makes the room come alive with a historical fact at every turn and there is so much knowledge packed within those four walls that it is almost impossible to not feel excited to learn something new. This is portable six, the room that has become a home and fountain of knowledge for students from all walks of life, and where you can find one of Coronado’s most beloved teachers, Mr. Torres.

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, and a Morehead and UTEP alum, Gerardo Torres has been on campus for nearly four years, where he has taught a variety of history-related subjects; among them, AP World History and IB History of the Americas.

“I absolutely love history,” Torres said. “In addition to a Bachelor of Arts in psychology I have a Masters of Arts in history and specialties in borderland studies and imperial history.”

Before pursuing teaching, Torres worked at an immigration shelter where he helped reunite families scattered across the United States and Central America. He says that the position was a truly eye-opening opportunity that frequently took him across the country.

“It was a very gratifying job, very interesting and enriching. I learned so much there,” Torres said.

Torres felt that the skills that he gained from his previous career provided him with the perfect toolbox to turn to teaching.

“It gave me teaching experience and the skills to connect with young people,” Torres said.

With the utmost joy on his face, Torres then recounted how he came to hold his position at Coronado after his time at the immigration center ended.

“This was the first school that I applied to and literally the first interview I ever had,” Torres said. “It all just happened and almost makes me believe that it was meant to be.”

Now, every day, he can wake up and do what he loves most: sharing history with others.

“I always tell my students that knowledge does not belong to me; I am just the bridge. I provide the knowledge and they have a moral responsibility to do the same and share it,” Torres said.

This passion for his job and the effort Torres puts in every day does not go unnoticed by his students.

“I loved how he made the class interactive,” said senior and former student Banah Abdeljaber. “He turned every lesson into a discussion.”

In addition to his teaching methods, many students highlight the personal connection he makes with each person who walks through his doors.

“He respects us, and we respect him,” said sophomore and current AP World History student Valentina Galeana. “For example, you can see it in the way he puts his phone up on the wall next to ours every day.”

“Mr. Torres makes your education personal,” said senior and current student Grady Locke. “He is adamant that he cares about you as an individual.”

Torres loves where he works and, in addition to teaching, stays involved on campus by sponsoring multiple clubs and the class of 2022, which keeps his classroom doors always open to all students.

“I love the population and I love this school, it’s really a special place,” Torres said.

In addition to history and teaching, Mr. Torres is equally passionate about music.

“I have a band! I am a teacher, and I am a musician, those two things define me as a person,” Torres said.

In the end, Torres simply loves what he does, and it shows in the bonds he creates with his students and the thirst for knowledge that they develop from his classes.

“I just love what I do, and I expect nothing in return,” Torres said. “This is my contribution to society and once you contribute in that selfless way, then I believe that you can say that you have succeeded.”