By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer
Mark Gallegos strives to get students to learn using all modalities, which helped earned the Portales High government and economics teacher the Portales News-Tribune’s Newspapers in Education Teacher of the Year Award.
A Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico committee determined Gallegos best utilizes newspapers in his classrooms to help keep his students up-to-date on current events.
“Coach Gallegos is a very dedicated teacher who works extremely hard in his classroom,” said Portales High School Principal Melvin Nusser, who nominated Gallegos for the award. “He is probably a master teacher, and not only based on his license, but on how his students perform in his classrooms.
“He has a great rapport with kids and he works as hard at teaching as he does at coaching.”
Gallegos coaches the Rams varsity basketball team.
Gallegos has even proposed the idea of offering an elective class in history focusing on current events, according to Nusser.
“Newspapers would be one of the mediums used in that class,” Nusser said. “We’re exploring that possibility.”
Gallegos said since he began his teaching career 18 years ago, he has always utilized newspapers and other print media in some shape or form in his social studies classes.
“I use the newspapers as reinforcement for study. One thing that kids lack is keeping up with current events and reading newspapers. Kids spend a lot of time on the Internet nowadays, but they are not looking at what’s going on per se,” Gallegos said.
The free newspapers Gallegos receives for his classrooms every Tuesday and Thursday help keep students up-to-date on what is going on in their communities and around the world.
“There is always something relevant in the newspapers to what we’re studying,” he said. “Whether it is current events, something going on in Santa Fe, or with our national government.”
Gallegos added newspapers are a good resource because he uses them to show students things in the newspapers relevant to their everyday lives.
“This immigration deal has been pretty good. Now in economics we are talking about it,” he said.
In his eighth year of teaching in Portales schools, Gallegos said without a doubt the only exposure to newspapers some students are in his classrooms.
“I enjoy doing what I’m doing. For me, it’s nice because I teach seniors and some of the things we cover in government and economics effect them directly and are in the newspapers,” Gallegos said.
The Southwest Dairy Farmers Association pays for the newspapers distributed to classrooms through the Newspaper in Education program.