Featured Faculty—Nelson Suarez


Mr. Suarez

The CN Blue & Gold sat down with Nelson Suarez, former Cardinal Newman mathematics teacher, to catch up on his life in the Philippines.

CN Blue & Gold: Why did you decide to leave Cardinal Newman?
Suarez: I left to move to the Philippines with my wife and [to] start a family, God willing. My wife Therese lives in the Philippines and, for family reasons was, not able to move to the United States. We had been apart for two years trying to move in together after our marriage here in the Philippines. We only met twice a year during the summer and at end of the year.

CN Blue & Gold: Do you miss teaching at Newman?
Suarez: Many times I miss it. I miss the other teachers and faculty as well as the students. I miss all the fun and also the funny moments that just occur by accident while teaching a class. I also miss my family and friends in the United States.

CN Blue & Gold: What was the best part about Newman?
Suarez: The best part about Newman was being able to share my faith with other people. Sometimes it felt a little awkward but I enjoyed praying before class and being able to share my Christian values with the students. [Cardinal Newman] is also a very supportive place for teachers. Every teacher and administrator was willing to help other teachers.

CN Blue & Gold: How are you and your wife?
Suarez: We are doing well but we are working very hard. We leave the house together at 6am. She drops me off at work and picks me up. We are back home in the evening. We take time to watch a movie here and there or do some artwork. We catch up on sleep or do artwork on the weekends. God willing, we want to start a family soon.

CN Blue & Gold: What differences do you see between the school you teach at now and Cardinal Newman?
Suarez: The school I teach at now has all grade levels from preschool to high school. All students speak English and come from Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Australian, and American families mostly. The environment is very multicultural. I am teaching art for the first time ever! I am teaching art to kids grades one through five. They are so sweet and mostly respectful but they are still kids so sometimes they make mistakes or they get very loud (much more than High School “kids”). I do not have to plan my lessons as rigorously as Cardinal Newman and I get to improvise a little more since I am dealing with elementary school children.

CN Blue & Gold: Do you plan on staying in the Philippines?
Suarez: Yes, I plan to start a family here. When I return to the United States it will most likely be on vacation to visit family.

CN Blue & Gold: When will you be coming to visit?
Suarez: I am not sure but probably not very soon. It is very expensive to travel back and forth from the Philippines to the United States. I would really like to visit the United States soon, however.

CN Blue & Gold: Has your faith strengthened?
Suarez: My faith has strengthened a lot. Since I met my wife a few years ago and was re-introduced to Jesus Christ, I have made very risky decisions that I would not have made before. I made them, praying for guidance and for grace—the Lord heard me and has blessed me. I changed careers and make less money now but I feel much more fulfilled and have more friends and people that benefit from my work. I also moved to Florida and taught there for two years and now I’m teaching in the Philippines. I became a Math and an Art teacher. I never thought I would have the chance to do this but I prayed about it with my wife and let God make all the decisions for me. He takes away sometimes and then he gives it back or gives you something else. It is up to you to make the best of it. It is a lot of hard work but there is more love and excitement in it than ever before.

CN Blue & Gold: How has your daily life changed since you moved?
Suarez: My daily life has changed completely. Instead of teaching Math, I am teaching Art. I am also teaching younger kids so technically it is easier but classroom management can get a little challenging sometimes. The kids are very sweet and eager to learn though, so I have found ways to keep them engaged and working in class instead of the opposite. At home, my wife and I have a house to keep up with. We spend a considerable amount of time making sure that everything is working properly. We also cook at home a lot. She does most of the cooking and I am very thankful for that. I do not speak the local language, Tagalog, but a lot of people can speak conversational English here, so it is not such a bad situation for me. However, I do depend on my wife a lot to get me what I need because she knows where to buy things and I am not familiar with all of the locations yet. Also, traffic is horrible here, so you need to make sure you plan your trips before rush hour or you might get stuck in traffic for upwards of 3 hours. Overall, I feel so much happier because I am with my wife but life is as exciting and busy as ever. I have learned to sometimes just relax and let things follow their way. Working hard is important here, but knowing when to stop, rest and recharge is very important.