¡Hola Lola! The importance of learning—and teaching—a second language

A few weeks ago, I added “Spanish Teacher” to my list of day jobs. I am teaching grades 1 through 7, exposing them to the language, the culture, and the rhythm. I learned to speak Spanish when I was 24, in a Peace Corps language boot camp where I lived with a Nicaraguan family and drilled with a personal language instructor for eight hours a day. I’m happy that, once again, my life is awash in Español—this time in games, poetry, storytelling, canciones infantiles, and a puppet named Lola.

¡Hola Lola! — ¡Muy bien, clase! — ¡Excelente!

In the words of one of my new colleagues, “I love teaching children about another culture and another language. It’s like planting a seed for greater tolerance, which has the potential to expand their awareness of world citizenship.”

Related: Budget Travel article I wrote about Spanish schools in Nicaragua

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