HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – CBS4 is heading back to school, celebrating those educators who go above and beyond in South Florida classrooms. This month we’re sharing the story of Carmen Natal.
An ordinary day in Carmen ESL (English as a Second Language) class at Hollywood Hills High School is anything but, because Carmen is an extraordinary teacher.
“My hardest challenge is getting through to all of them,” she told CBS4’s Rhiannon Ally.
Her students are from all over the world, from as far away as China to as close as Cuba. She makes learning fun, turning classic novels like “The Scarlet Letter” into a game pitting boys against girls.
Carmen is no stranger to learning a new language. She was born in Ohio and her family moved to Puerto Rico when she was a young girl.
“I spoke Spanish, but I didn’t read or write it,” she said, and that’s just one of the reasons she connects with these kids.
“She understands them and knows what they are going through,” said Hollywood Hills High School Principal Lourdes Gonzalez. “She takes that special care and attention to ensure that they are being successful while learning a second language and the skills to graduate.”
Carmen was suggested for the Love My Teacher recognition by her friend Bryce Aaron. Bryce saw the CBS4 “Love my Teacher” announcements and went online to ask that the be considered.
“It takes teachers like yourself to inspire those kids,” Bryce told his good friend.
Carmen was shocked when CBS4 surprised her with her plaque, immediately giving credit to her students and saying she wouldn’t be where she is today without them.
She also inspires other teachers and faculty. Carmen was named the Hollywood Hills High School Teacher of the Year 2011-12 because of her commitment to education.