The Beginning

To have another language is to possess a second soul

– Charlemagne

My whole life, I’ve struggled with trying to identify if I had more roots in the Latino community or in the American one. I am a first-generation American and this personal debate took me years to resolve.

My elementary experience is not something I remember fondly. There were no teachers who cared about my learning or any type of help to facilitate my lack of the English language. Instead, it was a rigorous, monolingual mess that made me hate school! My peers were no better. They laughed at me when I didn’t understand them. And they laughed at me when I tried to communicate with them. So, I kept to myself and just observed. And after what felt like an eternity of bullying, I learned English.

But once I did, I lost a little piece of me that loved to speak Spanish. I vowed to never speak Spanish in school to make sure I was never made fun of again. And this made me resent and feel ashamed of the language, the culture, and my people.

Ultimately, I moved away and began to see my Latino culture, not as a weakness, but as a strength. And a few years into college, I realized that I needed to be a teacher to make sure that my experience didn’t happen to any other children. A few years into my undergrad, my obsession with dual language began to grow as I observed one of the most amazing teachers, who I can now call a friend, teach her 2nd grade class. Ms. Ramirez’s eloquence and teaching style highlighted the fact that both languages are beautiful, and if done correctly, both languages can live and be taught harmoniously in the classroom setting.

From that point, my goal was to be a dual language teacher. And I’m happy to say that I met that goal within a couple months of finishing my degree.

But… now what?

Well, now, my goal has changed into a process of where I am learning and blossoming into that teacher I needed when I was their age. Dual language, although a challenging and exhausting educational journey, has been unbelievably amazing! The look on my students’ faces when they say or read a complete sentence in a language different from their own, makes this all worth it. And although I can’t say that every day is a good day, the truth is that I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am where I need to be and I’m doing what I love to do. 

12 thoughts on “The Beginning

  1. How wonderful that you are there for students that was a deficit for you when you were younger!

  2. Congratulations on completing the first part of such an amazing journey! The best thing about being a teacher is that you learn and grow along with your students every day.

  3. It’s so important that you hold onto that voice that you needed when you were younger. You can be that anchor for students you work with!

    Great post! Great reason to be a teacher! And welcome to the “Slicing World”!

  4. First off, congratulations on your first Slice! WOO HOO! Your students are very lucky to have the teacher you always needed. That is, of course, little consolation for your personal experience, but it brought you “…where (you) need to be and … doing what (you) love to do!” I, too, had a less than positive elementary school experience and vowed I would be the opposite. — Christie @ https://wonderingandwondering.wordpress.com/

  5. How wonderful that you are fulfilling a need so many students have. You found a role model and you may one day be a role model to someone else.

  6. Glad you are joining our writing community! Hope it becomes a part of your journey to the teacher you want to be for your students.

  7. This is a BEAUTIFUL story about what it means to be a TEACHER to you. <3 We are all the wiser for the moments we experience and who help mold us along the way. So glad you're at Emerson – I hope to someday impact someone the way Patty has impacted you!
    And I hope one of your next few posts will be in Spanish and English too! 🙂 So grateful you can be both versions of you, simultaneously, and help your kids create the same loving dual language space too! <3

  8. Your students are lucky to have you! One of the greatest gifts we can give kids is an environment where they can thrive and be themselves, and it sounds like you’re the exact right person to give them that gift. I look forward to reading your blog this month!

  9. ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡!!!!!
    I am so proud to call you my friend!!!! Your story is so powerful!
    The Dual World is so lucky to have a teacher like you in it!! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your voice and your story!!!

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