I am pleased to be at Woods in order to share my love of the beautiful Spanish language and culture with my students. I have been doing so for forty-three years and am happy to bring that expertise to Woods. I have a BA in Spanish from UNC-Greensboro and an MAT from UNC-Chapel Hill. I became acquainted with Woods when I came here as a guest teacher in 2008. I love teaching Spanish III in which we explore the history, art, culture and literature of Spain.
I have been married to my high school sweetheart since 1975. Barry is a retired dental lab technician from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. Our son, Jeffrey graduated from NCSSM in 2007 and UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011 with a major in Economics and a minor in Spanish. From his love of baseball and Hispanic culture he has made six trips to Nicaragua to support a children’s baseball league. Jeffrey is married to Nora Llabona, whose mother is Nicaraguan and father is Cuban. When not teaching I enjoy reading, traveling and spending time with my family. I have traveled to twenty-six countries, including a people-to-people trip to Cuba February 2014.
A teacher must be an expert in the subject taught, stay abreast of current research and methods of teaching, and find ways to reach out to students, their families, and the community beyond the classroom. The focus in educational trends in recent years has shifted from the teacher to the student. Although it is important for the teacher to be the expert in the classroom, the teacher should be a facilitator, guide or coach. The classroom is more student than teacher-centered. We should be more concerned with what students know and can do than what teachers know and can do. After teaching for many years, I continue to learn about my field and ways to capture and hold the interest of my students.
An essential part of teaching is to help students see the connection between what they learn in the classroom and the real world. In teaching Spanish, this has become easier in our changing world. In today’s world, students see the usefulness of learning Spanish and I prepare them to speak Spanish in the community in which they live. Teaching Spanish is no longer just verb conjugations and translation. Today’s Spanish classroom looks much different than it did in the past. Students work in pairs and small groups on conversational and written activities. It is more efficient and more student-centered. As a teacher, I never stop learning, changing and improving so that my students can emulate me as life-long learners. I am not just teaching students to speak Spanish but to see different cultures and perspectives they should respect and embrace. I am excited to share the Spanish language and Hispanic culture with the students at Woods.