Maria Sanchez ’05 GS ’06
What students will remember is the connection they felt (or didn’t) throughout their school days. For some of them, it can become a turning point for their entire life.
Maria Sanchez is a member of Soka University of America’s first graduating class. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Maria has taught at Soka schools around the world, including at Tokyo Soka High School and Colegio Soka do Brasil in São Paulo.
“In each graduation ceremony at the Tokyo Soka High School, there was always a moment in which the student band would play as the student body turned around toward their parents and sang the song ‘Mother’, which was written by SUA’s founder, Daisaku Ikeda.
“While this ode to mothers always touched my heart, later on I realized that the song also meant something beyond only acknowledging mothers’ benevolent spirits. In the classroom, it began to make me think, ‘Each of these young students is someone’s biggest treasure,’ even when some of them were giving me a hard time in class!
“In the practice of teaching, this ode to mothers made me realize that, first and foremost, I have to respect the dignity of each student’s life. Without that, the learning experience stays superficial, and there’s no life-to-life connection as a result. It also taught me about the essence of resilience, of not giving up on any student, and not giving up on myself as well.
“I know from experience that my students won’t remember most, if any, of the content covered in class. What they will remember is the connection they felt (or didn’t) throughout their school days. For some of them, it can become a turning point for their entire life.”