Instinctively, I held my breath and unclenched my fists. The
spectrum of vacant to excited stares I started to receive increased my heart
rate and accelerated the beads of sweat dripping down my forehead. Before me
was a group of my peers awaiting a response for the conventional set of
questions that freshmen are always asked at university orientation:
“What’s your name?”, “Where are you from?”, and
“What’s your major?”. Floyd, a small town outside of Baton Rouge, and
Spanish I stated. The latter of my response was met with furrowed brows, blank
stares and sneered grins. “So….You Dominican, right?” I heard
someone say while analyzing my skin tone. “No, I just love Spanish! I
asserted. My love of the Spanish language quickly became my manifesto of during
my undergrad studies as countless people questioned the practicality and
difficulty of my major. Nevertheless, my appreciation of the language started
at a much younger age.

 

Being the child of a widowed mother caused me to spend a lot
of time with my grandparents since my mother often worked long hours to be able
to support me and my siblings. In order to entertain myself I watched a lot of
television. Being a child in the 90s and early 00s gifted me the opportunity to
be enthralled with some Hispanic-lead sitcoms on Nickelodeon. My interest in
language has been present for as long as I can remember. Being a child in the
late 90s and early 00s, I would watch Hispanic-lead sitcoms on Nickelodeon such
as Taína and the Brothers García and try to guess what the random Spanish words
that they would speak. My interest in Spanish continued to blossom when I took
my first Spanish class when I was in high school when I became enamored with
the subject. Undoubtedly, Spanish class essentially changed my life. Since the day
I stepped foot into class, I knew that the Spanish language would become a
vital part of my life. Moreover, the knowledge of a second language provides us
with the ability to communicate with through a broader scope of aspects,
whether they may be social or through academia. It also has been a dream of mine
to travel to various countries, and knowledge of another language will provide
me with the tool to bridge the communication gap.

 

Through my time as an educator in both the Spanish and ESL
fields I have become more aware of the language learning process. As a teacher
I am now able to open my eyes to the different ways others grasp and comprehend
written and spoken language. Life in the classroom also gives me the chance to
learn as I teach. For example, when students ask an astute questions it allows
me to see the topic in a different innovative way. Teaching also gifts me with
days that are never alike; every day is something yet interesting. Furthermore,
being a teacher also provides me the chance to be a positive influence in the
lives of many young minds. Being told things like “You’re a good teacher” and
having a Salvadorian mother tell me her daughter is starting to speak Spanish
at home to her again make my job worth it.

 

The reason that I have decided that I would like to return
to graduate school because there is much more knowledge I can gain in the
sphere of academia. During my undergraduate study, I received an education that
was not only the words of the language, but history, culture, and literature as
well. From a combination of my past academic work along with my work
experience, I have gained practical experience which will aid me in all my
future academic and professional success.