WATSONVILLE—Juan Carlos Pozo Block has spent the past two decades teaching in Watsonville, working with students from various backgrounds and levels of education.
This year, that experience culminated in a new book in which the author, who goes by the pen name JC Pozo, shares his own reflections, student stories and advice for future teachers.
“El Olvidado Asombro” (The Forgotten Wonder) is a Spanish-language volume combining a number of different genres, from firsthand accounts to fictional stories. Pozo said that structuring such a text was challenging.
“I had to carefully plan out how everything would link together,” he said. “I had all of these stories, ideas and personal opinions I had to combine.”
Pozo is currently teaching Advanced Placement Spanish literature at Watsonville High School as well as classes for Adult School. He said he had been inspired for a while to write the book, as he had noticed students, especially high schoolers, feeling trapped and stressed by needing to meet certain educational standards.
“The most important thing for me is to get across that education is about interactions between teachers and students,” he said. “The subjects are secondary. Grades should not be the bottom line.”
The book is divided into five parts. The first is about the daily work of a teacher and how they observe education as a whole. The second is about how they interact with students, and how they can build a strong dynamic.
A work of fiction in the middle of the text utilizes a unit from Pozo’s class and is followed by a three-scene play about the life of a Mexican immigrant student who struggled to adjust to life after joining gangs.
The final section features students’ own first-hand stories, where they talk about school in general, their values, social pressures, and the search for identity.
Pozo says he hopes that his book will inspire teachers and society as a whole to respect and listen to their young people.
“I would love for people to start seeing the real student,” Pozo said. “They are not just an ID number. They have their own strengths, fears, anxieties and thoughts about school. I want people to see who these kids really are.”
“El Olvidado Asombro” is currently available on Google Books and Amazon. While currently only available in Spanish, Pozo says an English version is possible in the future. For information visit https://amzn.to/38qut5h.