Departing HS Teachers Reflect on their TCS Journey


HS English teacher Martinelle Diontee prepares Art of Fiction class.

As the school year comes to an end the TCS community says goodbye to a group of teachers who have made a significant impact on students’ lives. Their departure marks the beginning of a new chapter for them, yet remember their time in Colombia as a beautiful experience. 

Math teacher Gabriela Passentino, Physics teacher Gurveer Brar, English teachers David Gold and Martinelle Diontee have decided to end their journey at school. Their dedication to teaching has made a lasting impact on their students, and their departure will be remembered with appreciation by the entire TCS community.

“My experience in Colombia is very positive. I came to the school for career development and overall it was very beneficial,” Diontee said. 

Life at TCS

Beyond academic aspects the TCS community provided a space for teachers to form life-long friendships and unforgettable experiences that will forever stay in their memories. As many teachers have affirmed, TCS met their expectations, providing a learning environment with a curriculum staff that looked forward to a successful development in students.

“I’m gonna miss the TCS community. I’ve made really good life-long friendships here in Medellín and people here are really on the same wavelength as me,” Brar said.

“What I’m going to miss most about school are my students, I had a really good relationship with all of them,” Passentino said.

“The department staff was very helpful to me, at the beginning of the year I had surgery and I felt that the school was very helpful and supportive. It was difficult, especially being a new teacher in a different country,” Diontee said. 

Falling in love with Medellín

Living in Medellín provided the teachers with multiple growth opportunities as they challenged their skills on learning how to  navigate the city’s streets on bicycles and immersing themselves in its beautiful culture. Adapting to Colombian culture was initially challenging for many teachers, as most of them came from more advanced societies in the US and Canada. However, over time, they developed an affection for Colombian life, eventually falling in love with the culture.

“Colombia is a completely different culture than any place I lived before. I learned a lot about how people survive in a place where there’s not a lot of fairness, that you don’t need a lot of material stuff to be happy and overall I have become a better teacher,” Gold said.

“I think that everyone who comes to Colombia for the first time has to adapt. It’s such a different culture from the USA but I absolutely fell in love with the country,” Pasentino said.

“Colombian culture impacted me as I had to learn how to deal with a louder city, coming from Canada it’s definitely more calm there but I was able to adapt, slowly. In addition, I learned how to bike through the streets in Medellín. I love Las Palmas,” Brar said.

“The way people look at time here is so much different. In the United States if you’re gonna have a party you plan it weeks before, everything is much organized. In Colombia it’s like “let’s have a party tonight” and everybody will go over. People are very spontaneous in terms of what they do here in Colombia, which is really cool,” Gold said.

Time to say Goodbye

Despite their appreciation for the city, the friendships and love connections they formed, and the incredible experiences they had in Medellín, the time has come for the teachers to start a new chapter in their lives.

“It was a very hard decision. I’m going to China next year but I will miss Colombia, especially my students,” Diontee said. 

“I’m leaving for financial reasons, I have three kids and I think it is time to get into a new opportunity in my life. However, I loved my 9 years at TCS, getting to know my students and the ‘Paisa culture’ was such a privilege,” Pasentino said. 

“The acceptance of being able to understand the culture is difficult, it’s a very social culture, students always asked me if they could work together in order for them to socialize. I think all of this is important for students so they can express their identity,” Brar said.

5 years from today

Teachers have expressed their aspirations for the future looking forward to fulfilling their dreams.

“In 5 years I hope to be working for a computer programmer for a company in the US and have a finca in a little Antioquia town name “Consepción” which I absolutely love,” Pasentino said.

“In 5 years I hope to be in a leadership position somewhere in Europe as well as teaching some classes at the university level,” Brar said.

“In 5 years I see myself back here in Colombia. I would like to be retired, laying in a hammock in my finca watching my lulo and my mora grow,” Gold said.