Peggy Durbala - NIU - Foreign Languages & Literatures


Peggy Durbala

Peggy Batty

MA, Spanish, Northern Illinois University
BA, Northern Illinois University, Spanish Business and Translation

Hola. My name is Peggy Durbala. My first experience at NIU was when I came to campus in 1980 as an undergraduate student majoring in Spanish Business and Translation. Many years later, I returned to NIU as a student at large to obtain my Illinois Teacher Certification, and a few years later I began coursework to obtain my MA in Spanish. I began teaching Spanish full time here in the fall of 2005, and with each semester I enjoy it even more! In 2009, I became involved with our Teacher Licensure Program as a University Supervisor to some of our student teachers, and in 2012 I became the Assistant Director of Teacher Licensure. I currently teach both methodology courses and Spanish courses.

I was introduced to Spanish as a freshman in high school, and have been fascinated with it ever since. I can still remember sitting in one of my high school classes, watching the clock and waiting for that class to end, not so I could get out of school but rather so I could hurry off to my Spanish class! I knew then that I wanted to be a Spanish teacher; however, more than twenty years passed before I finally became one. My first teaching job was at Wredling Middle School in St. Charles, IL, where I taught for six years before moving on to college teaching, first part-time at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL, and now at NIU. I love teaching and find it truly gratifying when students learn to love the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.

In my position as a teacher licensure advisor and coordinator, I work closely with our foreign language students who want to become teachers, from their initial advising session to the end of their student teaching experience and graduation. It is extremely gratifying to help guide our students through the entire process of becoming professional educators. In addition to working with students in our department, I also have the opportunity to interact with practicing teachers all over Northern Illinois, with public school administrators, and with colleagues from many other departments in the University. Along with advising students and supervising our student teachers, I teach courses in methods of teaching foreign languages, and also teach a spanish class or two each year.

Aside from teaching at NIU, I do free-lance interpretation and translation for area school districts and government agencies. In early 2012, my NIU colleague Concepción Gliesman and I finished translating a 287-page book into Spanish! Concepción and I have also traveled to the state of Guerrero, Mexico, to serve as a volunteer interpreter for a not-for-profit organization called The Mission of Healing Eyes (see link below). Twice a year, a group of eye surgeons from the Denver, Colorado, area travel to Mexico to perform free cataract surgery for those who otherwise could not afford to be healed. I consider myself truly lucky and blessed to be able to use my language skills to help others be able to see.

In addition, I am a member of the advisory board of Cuenta Conmigo, a part of Fox Valley Volunteer Hospice that provides hospice services for the Spanish-speaking community of Fox Valley. I was recently awarded Certification as an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview Tester and Rater, and as such, am authorized by ACTFL to give advisory Oral Proficiency Interviews to NIU Spanish students. Finally, I travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, each June to grade the College Board’s Advanced Placement Tests.

Recent Publications

10 Basic Units for Middle School Spanish. Teacher's Discovery, Inc., 2005.

Spanish for the Nutrition Professional. American Dietetic Association, 2005.

10 Basic Units for Middle School French. Translated by Becky Iacopetti. Teacher's Discovery, Inc., 2007.

Career Choices (Spanish translation), Academic Innovations, 2012.


E-mail Peggy Durbala
Watson Hall 114
(815) 753-6449