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History Teacher Keeps Students on Their Toes

Do you want to learn more about Hispanic culture and history? Knowledge about our southern neighbors is becoming increasingly more relevant and useful and LSC-Kingwood offers a class that will expand your knowledge and awareness of Mexican heritage.

Meet Raul Reyes.  He's not your typical college professor and his Mexican American History II class is not your typical history class.

So what makes him and his classes different? His teaching techniques and overwhelming passion and knowledge of his subject matter bring history alive.

Reyes' class focuses on history most students have never learned about from their standard history lectures presenting the side of history no one else writes about.

"The victors get the right history and I'm trying to tell the losers' story," said Reyes, "I try to focus on minorities and their stories because those stories are the ones that aren't told."

Many students who are not interested in history claim it's boring or isn't relevant. Reyes begs to differ.

"Not to be cliché, but history tends to repeat itself. I try to make my subject relevant to my students and try to draw comparisons and parallels to what is happening today," said Reyes.

Reyes says that Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary, was the original bad-boy of terrorism and equates him to the Mexican Osama Bin Laden. Another striking similarity that students learn about in Reyes' class is the similarities between the current Patriot Act, the Espionage Act and the Sedition Act of the early 1900's.

"It's about being relevant. I don't want to reheat the rehash. I try to present material and facts that aren't generally known," said Reyes.

His class is full of humor, props, and stories that engage the class in learning and help make the information easier to understand in today's terms. Reyes also says that he is not a teacher who stands behind a podium and lectures; he is constantly moving around the classroom and asking questions.

Another characteristic of Professor Reyes is that he is bilingual and bicultural; a point of interest that he believes helps him be a better teacher.

"I think one thing that distinguishes me from my colleagues is that I can incorporate my experience in America and my own cultural experience of growing up near the US-Mexican border," he said.

Reyes' unique teaching style and ability to reach his students earned him the honor of Kingwood College Professor of the Year for 2004. He says he was surprised when he was named as Professor of the Year, but his students and colleagues knew he truly deserved it. He admits the award has become a source of pride for him and that he strives to be his very best as an instructor.

Reyes says his students are what matters most to him and he has an open door policy with any of his current or previous students. Reyes says he will work with a student and offer any assistance he can give as long as it is a reciprocal relationship.

"I try to be proactive and communicate that I'm a tough but sensitive instructor," said Reyes.

Reyes' class is HIST 2328 and will held Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11:15 a.m. - 12:10 p.m. during the fall 2008 semester. The class transfers to any Texas college as a substitute for U.S. History I or II. 

Register today for summer term II (July 10-Aug. 14) and fall (Aug. 25-Dec. 14) credit classes online, by telephone and on-site. Classes are offered days, evenings, or weekends in traditional, Internet, video, TV and independent study formats. Current students can register by telephone at 281-519-6625. Former and current students can register at Kingwood.LoneStar.edu/registration.

For general information about Lone Star College-Kingwood, call 281-312-1600 or visit Kingwood.LoneStar.edu.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including Cy-Fair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and the Lone Star College-University Center. With 49,250 students, it is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.