Empathy as a New Literacy

For those of us who thought that as teachers, we cannot teach or impact our student’s affective domain….think again.  If we can get them to experience empathy only once then it is possible that the lesson/experience may be life altering and long term.  Like the old adage goes.. “like riding a bike, you never forget.”  See the NPR interview:



My name is Paul Perez-Jimenez, husband, father, teacher: look on my works, ye students but do not despair!  I, too, am just starting off on this, sometimes overwhelming, endeavor that ultimately will lead to an Ed.D in Curriculum Instruction and Technology. I hang around a band of 5 overwhelming women that range from 2 to 40, the oldest of which sometimes claims me as her husband yet acts more like the others who happen to call me Dad. And, they’ve allowed me to use their old playhouse as my office and man cave.

I am also an English teacher with PSJA Southwest High School and an adjunct for STC, currently teaching British Literature. Most of my undergraduate work was at the University of Dallas in Irving, however, my degrees were from UTPA. I have a Master’s in Rhet/Comp as well as Literature and had the audacity of going back and getting another certification in Mexican American Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Young Adult Literature. Since getting another Master’s seemed utterly redundant, I was convinced to seek a doctoral degree in order to check off another item off my bucket list. The list now seems to be getting shorter for teaching is my second career. I spent 25 years in materials management/administration and worked with AT&T, GM, GE, TRW and finally Ametek Aerospace (yes, actually worked with rocket scientists). Prior to that I spent several years at a Jesuit Seminary and, what now seems several lifetimes ago, had planned on becoming a Roman Catholic priest; a fact my daughters find funny yet grateful that I erased off my bucket list.

I call Alamo, TX my home and enjoy gardening and carpentry as hobbies. i read too much and talk too much as well as spend way too much time on lesson plans, but ultimately I love what I do for a living.  This past year I was fortunate in receiving the Stanford Hollyhock Fellowship and along with about another 100 teachers from all across the country we form  PLC’s (professional learning communities) the likes of which no one has ever seen.

I am now getting to the age where I realize that holding back usually leads to should have or could have, so I expect that I will probably offend some of you but please note that if I ask for for further feedback or tell you that I do not agree it is because I am very interested in what you’ve said and hope you say more. I look forward to a great class with all of you.