He’s one of those teachers — the one who made everyday in the classroom special. The one whose name you remember for the rest of your life because he made such a difference.
For this year’s crop of eighth graders at Frank C. Martin International K-8 Center, that special teacher is Geoffrey Aladro, 31, of Cutler Bay.
Last week, the magic he weaves in his U.S. history classes was recognized when he was named Miami-Dade Teacher of the Year at the equivalent of the Oscar ceremony for local educators. Mr. Aladro walked away with a new car, along with $4,500. It’s a just reward for someone who can make the American Revolution come alive to 12- and 13-year-olds.
When Mr. Aladro’s name was announced at the Double Tree Hotel on Thursday and he made his way forward, he was stopped by so many fellow teachers that it took him several minutes to reach the stage. When he returned to school Friday, the students and faculty went nuts.
“We’re so proud of him,” his principal, Felicia Joseph, told the Editorial Board. “He’s a treasure, and we’re very lucky to have him.”
Mr. Aladro was a gem from the get-go. In 2010, he took Rookie Teacher of the Year honors.
But Mr. Aladro said that, despite growing up the son of a mother who is still a teacher, he never wanted to follow in her footsteps. “My mother would tell me: ‘You would make a great teacher. Give it a try,’” he told the Board. “I said ‘Absolutely not’ and went into technology.” At a career juncture, he finally listened.
“The minute I walked into a classroom, I fell in love with teaching.”
Despite having to teach to state-mandated tests, Mr. Aladro has managed to rise above it to make learning fun. He says the other teachers at his school do the same.
Mr. Aladro said when he draws up his lesson plans, he tries to find a connection to the students to make his topic relevant to them personally. Watching that spark materialize is magical, he said.
Day after day, wonderful teachers like Mr. Aladro toil in obscurity and isolation behind the classroom doors in South Florida schools.
For teaching our kids well, our gratitude goes out to Mr. Aladro and colleagues who are just as stellar.