I’m Mexican on my dad’s side. I’ve always regretted not learning Spanish as a child. But one dedicated high school Spanish teacher was able to make all the difference.
I always felt like kind of an outsider, being half Mexican and unable to speak Spanish. My family would talk and I’d just sit there waiting for my cousins to translate.
I tried learning Spanish. I’ve been in an out of classes for years. But this year, I had a teacher who changed everything for me. She made class engaging and fun. We’d yell Spanish terms in competencias to gain extra credit, and laugh at her jokes during the listening portions of tests.
Over my time in the class, I began to catch myself comprehending conversations. For Christmas, I asked my mom for a book. She gave me a collection of Spanish poetry. As I opened it, I felt such pride as I began to take it in.
It’s overwhelming the difference one teacher can make. My Spanish teacher didn’t just give me a grade. She gave me a gift — of connecting to my culture and family through language.