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Gamez teaches familial culture, language

Each school year brings a host of changes. One such change this year is the addition of Rosa Gamez to the faculty as a Spanish I and II teacher. A former instructor at Edison High School, Gamez joined the staff to share her knowledge of the Spanish language and culture.

Born in Los Angeles, Gamez moved to Fresno at age nine. Gamez’s mother was born in El Salvador and the majority of her family still lives there.

Despite the fact that Gamez never lived in a Spanish-speaking country, she continues to keep her family’s cultural roots central in her life.

“I listen to Spanish music, and I go to my mom’s house and eat her Spanish food,” Gamez said. “I hang out with my Hispanic friends and I try to go to Spanish events here in Fresno as much as possible.”

Besides living her life within a Spanish viewpoint, she also participates in cultural activities such as flamenco and salsa dancing.

“I practice flamenco every Friday,” Gamez said. “I can salsa, but I can’t go [to class] because of time conflicts. Dance gives me this feeling of happiness.”

Gamez’s passion for language began in junior high, but she did not consider it a career option until her freshman year of high school.

“I fell in love with the Spanish language in ninth grade,” Gamez said. “I took French for two years, but I switched to Spanish because it was my first language and I thought it was an easy way to get an A.”

Gamez grew up in a Spanish-centered home life and, as a result, skipped Spanish I and II. However, her heritage provided her with unexpected obstacles.

“I had learned incorrect verb tenses and I was speaking Spanglish,” Gamez said. “I took it as a challenge to learn to speak [the Spanish language] more properly.”

After her freshman year Gamez furthered her knowledge of the language through Spanish IV, V, VI and Spanish literature classes.

“When I was in Spanish V, I loved my teacher,” Gamez said. “Her passion for the language made me want to someday teach Spanish with the same passion.”

During her junior year in college, Gamez studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain for five months. While there, Spanish literature courses became her main focus, but she says the rich Spanish atmosphere provided her with the most insight.

After taking a couple years off school, Gamez later acquired her teaching credential and taught at the Fresno Adult School for three years.

Throughout her years of teaching, Gamez has developed her own style. She says she impliments an interactive method of teaching in order to construct the Spanish language into a straighforward path for students.

“I love to do a lot of interactive teaching,” Gamez said. “I like games which let the kids get up and move.”

Freshman Maddie Yee says she has learned a lot about the language through Gamez’s teaching of Spanish I.

“Getting used to being spoken to in Spanish is fun, but different,” Yee said. “I think she [Gamez] does a good job [giving work], but we still get to do fun things. She has that balance of being a teacher and our friend.”

Although she says she enjoys teaching beginning Spanish, Gamez maintains goals for her career in the future.

“Eventually I want to teach Spanish Literature,” Gamez said. “Some [works] that I would teach are poetry by Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz-Mexico, novels by Jorge Luis Burges and short stories by Isabel Allende.”

For more information on new teachers, read the Sept. 4 article, Military man commands science classes or the Sept. 3 article, New director pursues excellence. Check back for an upcoming sound-slide featuring all the new features.

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