Childhood dreams inspire an English profession

November 18, 2013 8:00 am
Photo by Jessica Crawford

WCC English teacher Tim Cubero helps student Jolene Carreira on her research paper.

It all started when he was a little boy. Timothy Cubero would set up his bulletin board with an assignment planner and attendance sheet with fictional names. Cubero had always dreamt of becoming a teacher, but little did he know he’d end up becoming the popular instructor he is today.

Now as a WCC English teacher, he says he is blessed to be where he is today.

With the opportunity to work with college students, Cubero says, “I enjoy teaching college kids because they actually want to learn . . . They are really interested in getting an education and seeing that makes me enjoy teaching them.”

As a child, he remembers vividly that he would pretend to play school in his room. “I knew I was always going to become a teacher,” Cubero says.

Photo by Jessica Crawford

WCC English teacher Tim Cubero

Not only does Cubero take pride in his work in the classroom, he applies his work outside the classroom as well. He believes that teaching students has great responsibilities that involve far more than just the subject itself.

“I want to make an impact on my students’ lives. It’s beyond the teaching that makes me love coming to class with these kids every day,” Cubero says. “I want to help my students in every possible way, whether it’s in the classroom or not.”

The University of Maryland at College Park is where it all began. Although his initial plan was to become a journalist, his first college professor ended up quashing those dreams.

“I used to be a broadcast journalism major back in the 1970s,” he recalls.  “But after turning in my first paper, my teacher yelled at me, asking if I really wanted to become a journalist. I sat there looking at him, speechless.”

Cubero admits he wasn’t the best of writers back then, and he found writing to be difficult at times.
Shortly after, he decided to get his B.A. in English language arts and secondary education.

Then he attended grad school at Pepperdine University to earn his M.Ed. in curriculum design and educational administration.

Cubero has taught for the past 35 years at all grade levels. He started in Washington D. C. and finally ended up as a lecturer at WCC.

“This campus is the most beautiful campus I’ve taught at,” he says. “The people here are so kind—everybody here, from the students to the faculty.”

Cubero says he feels WCC students appreciate the help they receive. “When I would teach in high school, every paper that I’d grade and give back to the students I would usually see it in the trash can by the end of class.  But since teaching college, I have never once seen a student’s paper in the trash, which makes me feel good.”

Cubero’s dedication to his classes was tested last fall when he suffered a stroke toward the end of the semester.

“While I was in the hospital I had to learn how to function again. I forgot how to do almost everything,” he explains.

“Sitting in the hospital, all I could think about were the students. The students made me want to come back. Thinking of them made me know that I was going to come back and teach again,” he adds.

Since then, Cubero says he has been taking care of himself and doing things that he wasn’t doing before he had the stroke.

“I don’t take my body for granted anymore,” he says. “I used to not care about the little things. I would always skip breakfast and lunch, then finally eat something later in the day… Now I try to eat every meal because it’s important that you get the energy you need to make it through a long day.”

Overall, Cubero says he just wants to keep enjoying life and that his relationship with God is what keeps him going through the hard times.

Believing that everything happens for a reason, Cubero adds, “I thank God for my recovery, and it is He who makes things happen. I believe He is the reason I am where I am today.”

by John Bascuk
Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter

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