Alfonso Mendoza’s journey with SBISD was what some might consider unconventional.
Over a decade ago, he took his first job in the district as a mailroom driver at the central warehouse. Little did he know at the time that this initial job would lead him to a full-time teaching role at Landrum Middle School.
As an 8th-grade history teacher, Alfonso is focused on shaping young minds while sparking their curiosity about the past, providing a bridge between history and the current day as he creates opportunities for students to become exemplary citizens.
Destined to teach
Alfonso’s path to working in SBISD was not a coincidence. He experienced SBISD as a student, attending SpringBranch Elementary School for kindergarten, first and second grades; Woodview Elementary for third and fourth grade; Buffalo Creek Elementary for fifth grade; and Spring Woods Middle School from sixth through eighth grade. He rounded out his SBISD experience by graduating from Northbrook High School.
“I knew SBISD was an outstanding school district and the place I wanted to be, which is why I took various administrative support roles before deciding to go into teaching,”’ said Alfonso. “I also wanted to give back to the school district that had given so much to me.”
As Alfonso worked as a mailroom driver and later in the registrar’s office, he was enrolled in college courses at night to obtain his teaching certificate. Upon completing his student teaching in SBISD, he served as a substitute teacher in the district, which eventually led him to the position he is in now.
Even though he did his student teaching during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it did not deter Alfonso’s decision to go into teaching. Witnessing firsthand the effect of the crisis on students and education, in general, further strengthened his motivation.
“I recognized the challenges, but I also saw the opportunities inherent in the teaching profession at such a critical time,” said Alfonso.
A passion for teaching
Alfonso credits SBISD with giving him a firm foundation, support, and guidance to help him successfully graduate. His experience gave him the confidence to pursue going to college. And now, as a teacher in SBISD, he feels that same support, which makes a huge difference every day.
“I love helping my students through the learning process as they tackle the challenges before them,” said Alfonso. “Having a supportive network and access to an array of resources makes my job even more rewarding.”
Alfonso’s passion for helping young people succeed in the classroom is something he shares with his siblings. His sisters also found their calling in teaching and are equally dedicated to the profession.
“It seems that I was destined to be in the classroom, and I wouldn’t change it for anything,” said Alfonso.
Making history come alive
Alfonso teaches U.S. history, including colonization, the American Revolution, the Civil War and the establishment of government. He understands the subject may be boring to some of his students, so he does all he can to make history come alive for them.
“While my students need to understand historical facts and events, I think it’s even more important that they gain an understanding of the past, so they learn how to engage positively in their community, city and country, becoming model citizens and leaders,” said Alfonso.
To Alfonso, history is much more than what is in a textbook. In his classroom, he uses it to draw parallels between the past and the present, demonstrating how it truly influences current events and how it will undoubtedly shape the future.
“Every day, I look forward to the opportunity for students to learn about the past as they grow into responsible, informed and compassionate people,” said Alfonso.
A student-centered approach
For Alfonso, like other SBISD teachers, the district is more than a workplace; it’s a community. He mirrors and firmly believes in the district’s student-centered approach as he works to put their success at the core of everything he does.
His teaching philosophy is simple yet powerful: he expects his students to give their best every day, believing that all students, regardless of their background and circumstances, can succeed inside and outside the classroom. Dedicated to making the learning process a journey of self-discovery, he enjoys guiding students and helping them realize how much they can achieve when they put their minds to it.
“As long as my students show up every day committed to doing their best, I will meet them halfway in reaching their full potential and helping them achieve their goals.”
Inspiring the next generation
Alfonso’s journey from a mailroom driver to a dedicated educator inspires his students, demonstrating that when they are committed to self-growth, anything is possible.
As Alfonso continues to mold young minds at Landrum Middle School, he carries the lessons of history with him and promises a brighter tomorrow. His classroom serves as a place where the past converges with the present, where students learn to appreciate the legacies of those who came before them, and where they are driven to create their own destinies.
With teachers like Alfonso dedicated to helping students succeed and encouraging them to grow and evolve, the sky is the limit for the next generation.
“I hope my students see me as much more than a history teacher; I want them to see me as their mentor, as someone who can provide guidance and insight in helping them succeed inside and outside the classroom,” said Alfonso.