Written by SWS Spanish Teacher, Fernanda Brito-Muñoz.

Class 2 contributes to the Día de los Muertos altar.

As I often question the purpose of things, I think about my role as a teacher of language. We all know that brain development is enriched when we learn a new language, but why is Spanish so important? It is crucial as my mother language, but why do young children benefit from learning Spanish? An article from 2019 declares that Spanish is the second language most spoken in the world after Chinese. Our students at SWS are very lucky to get both languages in their education beginning in first grade. Spanish has native speakers in over 44 countries. The most important thing to me is to help children and the entire community to see how, when we open our minds, we can realize that people that speak other languages are as smart, unique,  and intelligent as English speakers. 

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” – Flora Lewis

I teach more than the language as vocabulary and memorization, but also the culture. This way students can understand the language as a way of thinking and open their minds to different cultures, making this world more inclusive and diverse. That is why Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. said “every language is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.” Even for me, when I am speaking in English, I feel as if another soul is speaking that is different from when I speak my own language. I feel my inner child flourish. That is why it is so important to learn another language at an early age. This way the language seems natural and becomes part of your whole personality. 

“Each language penetrates us differently and reveals human nature in a different way, which is why we must complement the effect of the mother tongue with other languages.” – Rudolf Steiner

As a teacher I am giving all of who I am, with all of my culture, traditions, and history. When I am teaching colors, gratitude, and happiness, I give others a piece of myself through exhibiting these characteristics, my culture, and all of who I am. Given that Spanish speakers are the 2nd largest population in the United States  (Mexico has the largest), and projections suggest that by 2050, 1 in 3 people will speak Spanish (including bilingual people), I feel a great responsibility and honor to teach my language.