Spanish is my passion. I remember as a high school student taking a Spanish class and realizing there was a whole new world and culture that I had not explored. I discovered through learning Spanish, I would not only be able to expand my knowledge and potential as a person, but that I would be able to share my knowledge with others and be able to communicate with a community of people I would otherwise not be able to share life with.
Through teaching Spanish, I am able to impart my personal experience and my passion for the language to my students in hopes that they will be enticed with a new cultural experience and a more enlightening experience in life. Many students go into learning a foreign language with misconceptions and negative attitudes. I encourage my students to see learning Spanish as an opportunity rather than a requirement.
It is amazing to see students’ facial expressions change as I explain the benefits of learning Spanish to them. I share with them how Spanish is the second widely spoken language in the US, how many jobs are requiring fluency in Spanish, and that people who speak Spanish may receive higher salaries than those who do not. I also tell my students how they will be able to have a bigger worldview knowing another language, and be able to travel and meet people who speak Spanish. I even share my personal story of how I met my husband in Honduras and how we communicate in Spanish, which usually surprises the students and gives them a new perspective on Spanish, it becomes more relevant to them.
In the classroom, I focus on communication. Many students take years of Spanish and know the grammar but are unable to speak the language. I create a safe environment in my classroom for speaking the target language. I tell my students it is OK to make mistakes and that in the languages we speak (both our native language(s) as well as our second language(s) and so on) we will always make mistakes, we will never speak a language perfectly. I focus on communication and incorporate culture through activities and oftentimes will focus on a particular country to give our in class exercises a cultural context. I maintain a positive and fun attitude while teaching Spanish to show my students that learning Spanish can be fun and exciting.
I encourage my students to go beyond the classroom by getting involved in the Spanish speaking community. I give them different resources such as organizations, community centers, and places they can go to meet Spanish speaking people and get involved in their lives. I also tell them to listen to music in Spanish, watch movies in Spanish, go to tiendas, travel to a Spanish speaking country for an extended amount of time, and to immerse themselves as much as possible in the Spanish speaking world.
Teaching Spanish brings great joy to my life and I feel the most accomplished when students come to me saying they are serious about learning Spanish, want to travel to Spanish speaking country to become more fluent, or when they tell me they have switched their major or minor to Spanish. I feel fulfilled when a see a previous student and they tell me how my class inspired them to learn Spanish. Teaching Spanish is a gift to me and I am so glad I can be a vehicle to motivate others and give them a new perspective on learning the Spanish language.
Besides teaching, I enjoy running marathons, hiking, doing yoga reading, traveling, and spending time with my husband and our four dogs.