The verb ser changes its meaning depending on whether it is used in El Pretérito Imperfecto or in El Pretérito Indefinido.
Ser in El Pretérito Imperfecto
Read and listen to these examples with verb ser in El Pretérito Imperfecto:
Ser in El Pretérito Indefinido
Now, read and listen to these examples with verb ser in El Pretérito Indefinido:
If we compare these other two sentences:
1. Paloma era la profesora de mi hija.
2. Paloma fue la profesora de mi hija.
In example 1, we are not interested in conveying for how long she was my daughter's teacher. We are simply saying that Paloma was her teacher in the past.
In example 2, however we convey the idea of Paloma being my daughter's teacher in the past within a limited timeframe. We see it as a completed action.
Note that while "fue" is generally translated into "was" in English, "era" can be translated into "was", "used to be" and "would be".
Eran siempre sobre las 6 cuando mi padre volvía a casa.
It would always be about 6 o'clock when my dad came home.
It always used to be about 6 o'clock when my dad came home.
It was always about 6 o'clock when my dad came home.
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