Meet one of Fluent City's head Spanish Teachers, Victor, who has taught with us since 2014 and speaks 10 languages. He is also responsible for the composition of the first ever Fluent City textbooks and has worked on the development of our materials ever since.
What inspired you to start teaching Spanish?
After having studied linguistics and 12 different languages, I wanted to put into practice what I learned. I began teaching ESL and tutoring Spanish to friends in college. After hearing great things about my teaching and realizing how much fun I had teaching people another language, I decided to turn making everyone bilingual into a career.
What is your favorite thing about teaching at Fluent City?
I love that at Fluent City, teachers don’t teach straight out of a book. Instead, they make lessons applicable to real life and full of organic language, culture and personal experiences. I love teaching different aspects of Hispanic culture by incorporating dance, poetry, music, history and food into my lessons. By the end of my class, students can expect to not only be comfortable speaking Spanish but also knowing how dance bachata.
Do you have a favorite app or tool you recommend to students to complement their studies?
Yes. Aside from Word Reference for vocabulary and translations, I love The Flama, which is like the Latino BuzzFeed. I recommend this to students for learning about Latino culture. I also recommend Speaking Latino for both teachers and students to learn about various Spanish language topics.
Where is your favorite place to find Spanish/Latin food in New York?
All over New York City, depending on the borough. If I’m in the Bronx, I’ll definitely check out the food trucks for some great “chimichurri” or “fritura.” The South Bronx is great for Mexican food from various regions. In Queens, Roosevelt Avenue has great Mexican, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, Colombian and various other Latin American cuisines. And in Brooklyn, I normally go to Sunset Park along 5th avenue if I want Latin food.
Do you have a Spanish/Latin recipe to recommend?
Yes, my mom’s salsa verde recipe.
- ~8 tomatillos (the small green tomatoes)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3-4 jalapeños (depending on how spicy you want it to be)
- A bunch of cilantro.
- First, boil some water on the stove.
- Once it starts to boil, add the tomatillos, jalapeños, and garlic to the water.
- After boiling for a minute or two, the tomatoes and jalapeños should have changed color. Once this happens turn off the heat, drain, and transport the ingredients into a blender.
- Add a handful of cilantro (stems and all) to the blender and a bit of salt.
- Blend and refrigerate the result for homemade Mexican salsa verde.
Can you recommend a Spanish language film?
Instructions Not Included is a great bilingual film, because there are English subtitles when they speak Spanish and vice versa. Prepare to watch it with a box of tissues as the ending is bitter sweet.
Finally, what is your favorite Spanish word?
“Papalote,” which translates to kite. The Spanish adopted it to mean kite, but it’s original meaning comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec) language word “papalotl” for butterfly. I think it’s poetic and very cool that my ancestor’s language is still alive in many Spanish words today.
Want to become a Fluent City teacher? Click here to get started.