I love teaching Spanish, and have been doing so since 1989. I have also done a lot of translating and interpreting, but it’s just not as much fun as teaching. My reward is that look in a student’s eyes when something finally clicks – or when they’ve started the semester struggling, then work like madmen and end up not only with a better grade but with the amazing sense of accomplishment that comes when they see that they can actually do this. They’re able to read and express themselves, they understand more of what goes on in class, they’re no longer swearing and crying their way through homework assignments and test preparation, and best of all, they’ve learned to turn failure into success through their own hard work.
I’m known as one of the more demanding instructors; students either love me or hate me, and that doesn’t bother me a bit. If my students are willing to work, I know that I can give them the keys to help open their minds to a new language and a whole new world. (And I can help them earn a better grade in the process.) But the keyword is work. As I tell them in class, I’m a gringa just like most of them, I had to learn this language the same way they’re learning it, and if I could do it, so can they.
On a personal level, Spanish is part of my life on a 24-hour basis, as I’m married to a native Honduran. We have three beautiful brown-eyed, curly haired, giant Lugan-Latino kids (or catringos, as we also call our mix of catracho and gringo), and two huge extended Honduran and Lithuanian families that alternately enrich our lives and drive us completely crazy.
- M.A., Northern Illinois University, Spanish
- B.A., Northern Illinois University, Spanish Language and Literature
Wirtz Hall 316