Educator of the Year Essay

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For many high school students, including myself, the journey to discovering academic strengths can be tedious. In fact, it was not until my junior year that I came across my academic strength—Spanish. Had it not been for my Spanish IV Honors teacher, Mrs. Aguilera, I would not have developed my love for the Spanish language and culture.

Mrs. Aguilera has earned her status as my favorite teacher through my academic journey for several reasons. Unlike some Spanish teachers who require students to memorize and regurgitate obscure vocabulary and conjugations, Mrs. Aguilera teaches Spanish through a variety of sources rather than strictly from a textbook or vocabulary sheet. She lives the language and weaves it into the daily fabric of my day. In Spanish class, I have viewed several movies reflecting the practical use of the Spanish language or which exhibit Hispanic culture, such as La Misma Luna, which illustrates the plight of illegal immigrants in America; Evita, a musical interpretation of the Argentinean Cinderella, Eva Peron; and In the Time of the Butterflies, which demonstrates the violent takeover of 20th century government in the Dominican Republic. Through these films, and leading class discussions on the contact and impact of these films, I have garnered an awareness of a world beyond the United States.

In addition to film, Mrs. Aguilera has our class go on field trips so that we can develop better insight into Hispanic cultures. From going to a Latin-Caribbean restaurant to viewing a Fernando Botero exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art, I have had the ability to perceive with my five senses some of the essential components that serve as a significant basis for understanding Hispanic heritage.
Although teachers ruefully declare how rare it is to teach curious and ambitious students, I can attest to the same decree of rarity in exceptional teachers who are vibrant, dedicated, and eager to teach and help students expand their limits and embark on a lifelong eagerness to learn. Mrs. Aguilera has proven to me the importance of learning through a range of experiences and materials outside of monotonous textbooks. Had it not been for Mrs. Aguilera’s crucial influence, I may have never realized my passion for the Spanish language and Hispanic culture.





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