It all started in my junior year in a Physics class. I sat next to a girl that was taking your class. She would always talk about how much she loved your class, and how funny you were. I even got jealous, because I really didn’t like any of my teachers that much. Little did I know that I would have your class in my senior year. The moment I walked in on the first day, you typecast me as “The Gringa,” and it’s been the best nickname I’ve ever had. It is a name that implies ignorance and incompetence, but I feel like we break the stereotype immediately, since we’re both white and speak Spanish pretty well (you moreso than me, but still). I like that we have that connection.
Every day from then on out was a learning experience. Even on the days we reviewed, I learned a new word or you told us a new story about your travels or a little fact about Hispanic culture. We even learned to learn from each other, which is a hard thing to do. And things were always interesting. I could fall asleep in any subject, but I felt more awake in your class. Maybe it’s because I knew you would not tolerate any disrespectful behavior from me. You respected your students as long as they respected you, and that’s something I really admire. But you also kept the class in high spirits. There was never a bad day in your class. We could all have fun together and learn Spanish at the same time.
There were some days for me that just wouldn’t go well. You picked up on it immediately. I usually just said I was tired or blamed it on whatever day of the week it was (“Oh, it’s Tuesday. Tuesdays don’t agree with me.”), but you knew there was something going on. I really appreciated your concern. You were one of the reasons I made it through my senior year. You and your third period class made it worth coming to school every day. I bared my heart and soul to you and that class, and you all supported me the whole time. You never questioned my odd behavior. You never judged me. I can’t be any more grateful to you.
So I would like to extend my many thanks to you. Estaba un año muy loco y raro, pero seré una “gringa” mejor porque usted me enseñó. Yo aprendí mucho, y nunca te olvidaré.
Elizabeth “Gringa” McNulty