Alexandra knows just how important it is to speak the language of the people in her life — literally. As a teacher in a largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood, she is making it her mission to connect with her students and their families deeply and effectively. That’s why she’s starting Spanish classes with us this month. Read on for Alexandra’s thoughts on teaching, learning, travel, and love.
Setting The Stage
Where are you from?
I’m from Rhode Island; I moved to New York nine years back.
Do you live in Brooklyn now?
I do! I love it. I never want to go back.
I feel that. Do you speak any other languages? Does your family?
I don’t – I sadly took Latin in high school, and since then I’ve travelled to countries that did speak Spanish so I’m really excited to start learning.
What are you looking forward to about a group lesson format?
I guess it’s a social learning when it comes to language. You don’t want to do it in isolation, and in a class you have people of all different levels.
The Teacher Becomes the Student
What made you want to start learning a new language?
Well, I teach at a public school in Brooklyn and my school is about 50% Spanish-speaking. I thought as a teacher it would be better be able to communicate with the students and their families on all levels.
That’s a great reason. What are you looking forward to most about getting Spanish under your belt?
I will say there aren’t many people in our administration that speak Spanish. So I’m thinking ahead for the future. I’m going into an administrative role, and I think it’s a little insensitive not to know the language of half the people I serve. It’s an important part of bridging the gap between the administration and the students.
That’s very true. And it’s not just students either, right? A bunch of the families probably speak Spanish as their first language as well.
Yeah, so I think it’s a very important part of putting people at ease. You’re talking about people here who have probably immigrated and might not feel totally comfortable speaking English all the time. But if someone called them up in their own language, that would make a huge difference.
La Lengua de Amor
Totally! And you know what you’re talking about, you’re also in a relationship with someone who speaks Spanish, right?
Yeah, my boyfriend. Spanish is his first language; his family sort of speaks in a mix of English and Spanish around me.
That’s great that you’re about to start learning! Do you think learning each others’ languages is an important part of a relationship?
I think that it’s a part of understanding another person. There are so many types of languages that we use throughout the day, but being able to communicate on all those different levels, and being able to travel together — that’s exciting, you know? I think I have an easier time using Spanish in countries that aren’t America.
¡Vamos a Viajar!
Have you done a lot of travelling in Spanish-speaking countries before?
I’ve travelled to Mexico, yeah, and I’ve travelled with a coworker who did speak Spanish. I’d try out some phrases, and like ordering food, but that’s about it.
Are you thinking about more travel after you’ve learned more Spanish?
Yes, definitely. I’m already planning where I’m going to go on break next, and I definitely want to try a Spanish-speaking country.
¡Buena suerte, Alexandra, y feliz viaje!