For the Love of Language – and Mom
Vanessa Ortiz is a dual immersion kindergarten teacher in California. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day and Mother’s Day, we’re sharing Vanessa’s story about how her mom fostered her love of bilingual education.
I’m passionate about bilingual education for so many reasons, but one main reason is because of my mom. She came to the United States with her family when she was in first grade. They migrated from Mexico to Texas, where my grandfather was a bracero – a seasonal agricultural worker.
When my mom started school in Texas, speaking Spanish in class was prohibited. She told us that students would get hit with a paddle if they got caught. This caused her to become very reserved, but luckily, she was able to retain her language skills, though she’s more comfortable speaking English.
Growing up, my siblings and I learned Spanish first – and we also learned English quickly. We knew about our culture, though it wasn’t embraced as it is today. Now, as a dual immersion teacher and a mom, I want my daughter and students to embrace their heritage and their languages. I want them to be proud of speaking multiple languages – instead of being punished for it. I absolutely love teaching dual immersion education, and I’m grateful my daughter and students have the opportunity to live and learn in two languages.
– Vanessa Ortiz (Reyes), M. Ed.
Follow Vanessa on Instagram @maestra_ortiz.
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