I recently read an article by Marissa Villa in the San Antonio Express-News, “Singer Estefan hasn’t forgotten the lessons of a teacher.” Popular singer Gloria Estefan was only six years old and couldn’t speak English, but her teacher, Dorothy Collins was able to communicate with her in a caring, encouraging way, which made a lasting impression on the superstar.
Half a century later, the impact is still felt. During a recent visit to San Antonio, the singer arranged a meeting with Collins. Like many people who have achieved success in life, Estefan gave credit to a teacher who mentored her. “You’re a part of my being a celebrity,” she told her.
This story is a wonderful example of why people enter the teaching profession: to make a difference in the lives of their students. Of course this has to happen one relationship at a time. It starts with compassion, but then communication skills are essential. Some teachers are gifted this way, and others aren’t.
Today, it’s possible for any teacher to have the kind of skills that Dorothy Collins had. The online coaching system, Strong for Mentoring Students, was created to help teachers improve seven key communication skills, so that relationships with young people have the hoped-for impact.
In an ideal world, emotional reunions like this one with Gloria Estefan would become a regular event.