Tisha Gomez didn’t plan on becoming an educator. Born and raised in NYC and the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, Gomez graduated high school with the intention of becoming a computer programmer. Three years later she found herself entering the teaching world, and she hasn’t veered from her course since.
Gomez’s work as a teacher at the School of Cooperative Technical Education is unique, as she uses her technical side and personal experiences to run a creative class focused on creating prescription eyewear for fellow students in need. Gomez believes in providing her students with practical skills that will support future careers, and when she began working at the school she quickly discovered that many of her students needed glasses in order to succeed. Unfortunately, the majority of these kids couldn’t afford them. Gomez immediately took action, launching a project that would teach her students to make their own glasses by filling prescriptions, cutting lenses and styling frames to patients’ specifications. Her class offers free glasses to any student of the school, and provides as many as 400 students with eyeglasses each year.
“I’m immediately satisfied after I make a pair of glasses and put them on someone’s face and see the reaction on their face when they can see clearly,” Gomez explained.
She continued, “Everybody wants to be a doctor or a lawyer, but there’s one thing everyone needs at various times in their lives, and that’s eyeglasses.”
“My students come from the inner city and they need a career to support themselves. This class gives them a trade that’s needed,” she added.
Gomez was just nominated for a Hometown Heroes in Education award for her work.