Student Spotlight: How Spanish Lessons Help Zara Connect with Her Students

Tell us about yourself! What language are you learning and why did you choose to learn it? What are your goals?

I decided to improve my Spanish with private classes in order to communicate better with my preschool students and their parents.  I studied Spanish for many years in school, but over the years, I haven't practiced speaking very much.  I started Spanish classes in order to improve my speaking.

What’s your typical day like and how does Fluent City fit in? Do you do anything else to incorporate language learning into your daily life?

In March, the school system switched to remote learning and I began to teach my students online. I realized it was just the right time to start Spanish classes, as I had some extra time to devote to it.  

I also had family members of students who only spoke Spanish and wanted to communicate with them better to keep them engaged and included in the remote learning.  

Since the school year is over, I now have more time to study and practice.  I take class twice a week with my awesome instructor, Yamid.

How do you think learning a language will change your connection with others? Is there a specific person who encouraged you to learn?

Many people around me speak Spanish as I live in Queens, New York. Learning Spanish will help me communicate with many people around me and with the families that I work with at school.  I strive to build strong relationships with my students and their families and learning Spanish in order to better communicate with them will help strengthen those bonds.

My boyfriend is also Dominican and many of his family members speak primarily in Spanish. Over the years I have listened and understood, but rarely responded or responded in one word answers or Spanglish. I hope to build the confidence to respond to their questions and stories in complete Spanish sentences.

I love to visit the Dominican Republic and I'll feel even more comfortable and happy if I can communicate better with the people who live there.

What impact has learning a language had on your life in the last few months?

In just a few months, I've built more confidence in speaking Spanish. I've been able to respond better to parents' questions. I also was able to translate some of the assignments I gave my students with more accuracy. I'm also definitely building my vocabulary.

What's been your favorite socially distant activity to do with friends and family over the last few months?

My favorite socially distant activity is Zumba. I take my classes virtually with my usual instructors and classmates. This activity fits right in with my Spanish learning because many of the songs are Spanish-language songs and I find myself listening more carefully to the lyrics and understanding more.