From a radio show host to an actor to a teacher: Perez’s teaching journey comes to an end


Myesha Phukan, Staff Writer

Current English teacher Hector Perez chased his seemingly wild fantasies after finishing high school: he hosted a radio show, became a columnist, tried stand-up comedy, and entertained audiences with his acting skills. However, Perez said they didn’t bring him fulfillment. 

“All those things didn’t bring me any kind of satisfaction that was long-lasting,” Perez said. “It was like fame-fleeting.”

Throughout his life, Perez said he had never liked teachers.

“They were a real pain in my side in middle and high school,” Perez said. 

Though his dislike for teachers persisted, Perez was offered a permanent substitute position at St. Rose Academy in San Francisco after a literature teacher fell ill and took the job.

“I found that all the things that I’d been chasing were right there in the classroom,” Perez said. 

Before he settled down and became a teacher, Perez said he decided to take a year off to write and publish.

“I did write and I did publish,” Perez said, “but I was only making $200 or $300 a month and you can’t pay rent through selling poetry.”

After only taking four months off, Perez returned to the University of San Francisco to explore its School of Education. 

While Perez was talking to the secretary about admissions tips, the dean of the school came by and inquired about Perez’s application to the school and his ability to speak Spanish. “She said ‘I have a bilingual teachers training grant…that is about to go unused,’” Perez said.  The grant paid for Perez’s tuition and kick started his journey toward being a teacher.

“The School of Education rocked my soul,” Perez said. “It was beautiful.” He later signed on to become an elementary school teacher, where he said he hoped to be everything his teachers were not. 

He wanted to treat his students like he was never treated. 

“I’m going out there and I’m going to be everything that I wanted them to be,” Perez said. “I’m going to open doors for individuals who are not necessarily apparently academic, as I apparently was not academic in [my teachers’] minds.”

Perez said he started teaching at MVHS in fall 2002 after teaching in the San Francisco Unified District for 12 years.

“The main reason I chose [Mountain View – Los Altos ] was because it had a reputation of absolute academic elitism,” Perez said. “That’s what I [wanted] to do. I [wanted] to be an academic and leader.”

One of his greatest honors, he said, was being recognized by one of his students, a National Merit Scholar, who said that he had changed his view on writing. “I thought, ‘wow, [he] could’ve honored any of his teachers,’” said Perez. “He chose little old me.”

After teaching at MVHS for 20 years, Perez recently decided to retire in January.

“I am no longer an effective teacher,” Perez said. “I may be an effective teacher elsewhere, but at this school, I am no longer [one].” 

Perez said he plans on chasing his fantasies again, as he once did after high school. 

“I [will] do it all over again,” Perez said. “Be on stage, do some stand-up, do some writing, do a lot of reading.”

Though Perez is retiring after this school year, he remains grateful to both MVHS and the MVLA district.

“I have in my heart, pure gratitude for having been given the opportunity to take care of my family and remain in the only job that I’ve ever loved continuously until August,” Perez said. “I’m grateful for this district because I put two kids through college….If it were not for this district, I would not have been able to give them the life they had.”