by Michael Klitzing
Don Dumas ’10, ’16 holds a few different titles at Bonita Vista High School. The graduate of SDSU’s single-subject teacher credential program and Master’s in Teaching Online Program is a history teacher, a varsity boys’ basketball coach and — as of two months ago — Teacher of the Year in Sweetwater Union High School District. We recently sat down with Don to discuss his path from a disaffected high school student to a mentor who inspires young people every day.
What was your reaction to being named your district’s teacher of the year?
"It was very gratifying. You kind of get caught in the grind of teaching: you're making lessons, you're teaching, you're working with kids. When I was presented with this award — first at my site and then for the district — it was kind of out of the blue. It felt like almost an award for the hard work of nine years, not just the one."
What are the most rewarding parts of being the teacher?
"Without a doubt, the most rewarding part is when students — whether they are current students or former students — let you know how impactful you've been. I'm very grateful to receive this award, but when a kid comes and says, 'You really changed my life,' that's the absolute best reward ever."
We're losing a lot of our kids because they're not being empowered in school. I wanted to try to change that in my little world, 150 students per year.
Are there any specific instances you can share?
“I had a student at Mar Vista High School. He told me that everyone had always said that he wouldn't amount to anything and that he was going to be a failure, and because of that he never really tried. But I convinced him to try to do something positive in...(read more at SDSUCOE News)