An educator who innovates with song, games, and cultural anecdotes to teach Spanish.
Believe it or not, it was pharmaceutical marketing that introduced Marti Barrera to teaching. While working as a marketer in Colombia, she spent her days educating patients about medical treatments. “I felt that teaching was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” she says. She holds a B.S. in Respiratory Therapy and an M.A. in Marketing, and more than a decade of experience teaching and developing curriculum. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. For her classroom lessons, she brings out her creative side with activities like singing, travel anecdotes, and interactive games.
How did you discover your love for teaching Spanish?
When I first moved to the U.S., I taught Spanish to healthcare workers in Los Angeles for five years, and that is when I realized I really love to teach. It is also something you can do anywhere. I went on to teach middle and high school Spanish in Oklahoma, then I moved to Maryland and taught college-level Spanish, and I really loved teaching college students.
Do you draw on your background when you teach?
Absolutely. When I was working in Colombia for GlaxoSmithKline, I traveled around South and Central America. To do my job, I needed to know the cultures in different countries, how they speak, what they call things, and their food and music. Now, I can share that knowledge with my students. For example, I visited Colombia this summer and saw that motorcycle taxis are popular there right now, and I get to share that piece of culture in my classes. I can also recommend the absolute best places to visit — like the city of Barranquilla!
What do you hope students take away from your Spanish courses?
My goal is that at the end of the class my students can look around and say, “Wow, I took this class because I had to, but right now, I love to speak Spanish.” I want them to continue to speak Spanish, learn more about it, and take their next Spanish course not because they must, but because they want to learn more. I hope they will realize it will benefit them now and in the future.