Marcela Caro - 6th, 7th, & 8th-Grade Spanish Teacher,
Coordinator of Latin American Studies,
Coming from higher education, I talked to thousands of college students who were trying to figure out the type of career they wanted after graduation and how to achieve it. I learned that companies who were recruiting recent graduates were looking for specific skills not yet developed. Multicultural competency, living or working abroad, speaking a second language, teamwork, leadership, empathy, and adaptability were a few of those skills. In my conversations, I also found that many students had never traveled outside the country before entering college, and few had meaningful connections with cultures other than their own.
This drew me to change careers and work at a school where I could bring the international world to the classroom and help students develop the skills needed to be successful world citizens. At St. Anne’s, we are preparing students to develop these skills before college. As an example, this Spring we will be providing an opportunity for students to experience a cultural tour to Costa Rica and visit San Jose, the Arenales, hot springs, local markets, and traditional restaurants as well as a turtle conservation site, a volcano, a coffee farm, and a school. One of the best parts of this tour is that students will be speaking Spanish with locals. In the future, we are looking to expand our tour trips so that students will have the chance to learn about and experience other cultures.
To reach my goal of bringing the international world to the classroom during my Spanish classes, I incorporate teamwork, language skills, geography skills, and communication skills as well as intercultural communication, critical thinking skills, art, music, and humor into a holistic package. In the first eight weeks of school, students have learned about all 21 Spanish speaking countries, their geography, location, population, famous people, culture, and traditions. We have read poetry and listened to traditional Spanish music to connect with the language and culture. We have played “Duelo de familias” which is a replica of the famous TV show, “Family Feud” where two teams compete to answer questions in order to reinforce their speaking skills, develop teamwork, and win participation points.
New at St. Anne’s this year, the 7th and 8th graders will have the opportunity to visit the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Students will take a tour, attend a briefing with a diplomat and learn the history and mission of the United Nations. The tour includes a visit to the famous General Assembly Hall, Security Council Chamber, The UN Bookstore and Postoffice. Students can get their passport stamped for free while they are in a sovereign territory. Also, we founded The MS Spanish club, which allows students to meet once a week and share the Spanish language and culture beyond the classroom. Throughout the rest of the school year, students will take dance lessons, cook a traditional Spanish recipe, read Spanish novels and perform theater in Spanish! There is so much to learn and experience.
Over 37 million Americans speak Spanish making the second-most used language in the country. By 2050, Spanish will become the second most spoken language in the world. The language skills, multicultural competency, and international knowledge that they learn now will serve your children well beyond their years at St. Anne’s. This is why I am so passionate about teaching Spanish and look forward to watching all my students continue to learn and grow.