Licenciate, Hispanic Literatures, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
Ph.D., Spanish and Latin American Literatures, University of Michigan
Fernando Pomar is the Upper School Spanish Teacher. He started teaching during his first year of college in Peru, when he was 17, helping high school graduates to prepare for college admission exams. He has never stopped since then. For many years, he was a Linguistics teaching assistant at his university, an instructor of Spanish at higher education institutions, and a teacher at private schools in Lima, Peru. He also worked as a journalist in national magazines and newspapers, and studied acting and worked in some plays. His last job before coming to the United States to pursue academic endeavors was as a legal editor for the Peruvian Congress. While a graduate student in Michigan, he taught all levels of Spanish language and Literature. With his Ph.D. diploma in hand, he moved to New York to work at St. Joseph’s College, where he got tenure. But greener pastures and cleaner air were calling and he moved to Asheville.
Get to know Fernando Pomar:
What do you like most about your job at CDS? "There is a huge amount of positive energy coming from everybody at the school and that makes me come to work every day with a big smile on my face."
How would you describe your classroom? "It's a space where students are able to make their own path to knowledge with my help. That entails trying new things, making mistakes and finding meaningful solutions to problems. There is a constant and, in the best moments, joyful struggle in order to go from chaos to order."
What books and authors inspire you, your curriculum, and your classroom? Why? "I find inspiration in works that make a point about showing us that the world is accessible. I am fascinated by language and its deep entrenchment to the body, and I admire people who have made a point of finding patterns in the ways in which humans express their world. There are linguists (Ferdinand de Saussure, Émile Benveniste, Noam Chomsky) who have researched language’s behavior; cognitive scientists (Steven Pinker, George Lakoff), who have been researching the connection between words and the brain; and writers (Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Fernando Pessoa, Herman Melville) who have paired a masterful use of language with a skewed view of the world to show their readers that we live in a world where exceptions and uniqueness are the rule."
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “A material thing is first of all 'the only bridge of communication between two minds.' The bridge is a passage, but it is also distance maintained. The materiality of the book keeps two minds at an equal distance, whereas explication is the annihilation of one mind by another.” ― Jacques Rancière, The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? "I help students become their own teachers and masters."
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? "Skits and little plays are moments to have fun, be creative, and engage body and mind in the use of language."
What personal passion brings balance to your life? "Music, poetry, walking."
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? "I am very passionate and I try to instill that passion in my students. I am also very loud and hyperactive, and that makes it difficult for them to ignore what is going on during class. I believe that the best learning happens whenever we engage not only our minds but also our bodies and therefore I try to make students engage with Spanish in a way that involves not just sound but also movement and action."
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? Why/how is what you see now valuable? "CDS’s approach to education is totally student-oriented and instruction is tailored to each individual student’s learning styles and needs. There is no one single formula but a constant search for respond creatively to the challenges that students and teachers find along the way."