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AATSP Member Spotlights


Member Spotlight

Every few weeks, the AATSP “spotlights” one of its members in an attempt to recognize the many ways in which AATSP members promote the study and teaching of Spanish and Portuguese at all levels of education. We invite you to read the current spotlight below. You can also click at the bottom of this page to view archived spotlights. 

Crystal Vicente

AATSP Poster Coordinator

I was born in North Carolina, and shortly thereafter my family moved south. I lived my formative years in South Texas in a border town, hearing both Spanish and English on a regular basis. It was natural to hear snippets of “¿Qué pasa?” and “¡Qué gacho!” along with “Ándale, pues,” without even consciously knowing that there were two languages meshed together. I was an anglo kid, a “gringa,” surrounded by a wonderful mix of cultural experiences, of tacos and tamales, fresh buttered tortillas, the aroma of cilantro, the sights and sounds of los mariachis and la música that became as much a part of me as my own culture, one that calls to me still. I picked up an “ear” for Spanish, hearing it as part of daily life in my youth, though it would be many years later before I would actually feel confident speaking the language. Soon enough, we moved again, north this time, and away from the sights and sounds of the Rio Grande Valley. In high school, the Spanish classes always called to me, as if I had a secret, a destiny, a higher purpose. It was not until college when my Spanish teacher recognized my unusual affinity for the language, an understanding she called a natural gift for Spanish. It was hearing her northern accent trying to speak Spanish that I realized that I too could teach other children to love the language and culture as much as I do. Sixteen years later, Spanish is still a part of my daily life, and I live to help others enjoy the sights and sounds, the aromas and the flavors, that spice up my life.

I have had the privilege of being a member of AATSP since I first became a Spanish teacher. I have worked many years on the AATSP-GA Board, the AATSP Board of Directors, and with the AATSP Poster Contest. During my years of teaching Spanish, I have had many opportunities to work with wonderful Spanish teachers, including participating with the Embajada de España and the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte for a week of immersion in Atlanta, then again with the National Capital Language Resource Center in Washington, DC. I also participated in the National Endowment for the Humanities study abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico, and I had the amazing opportunity to work with a group of Spanish teachers from all over the United States and with a team of professors from the Teachers College of Columbia University.

Being a member of AATSP is one of the highlights of my career. I enjoy being a part of an amazing organization that seeks to support teachers and to improve the lives of students, children, and adults, as it spreads the love for languages and cultures worldwide. It is my hope that, if we can give students a love for language learning, encourage them, and give them the tools they need to be successful in the language, then there is hope that we will not forever be known as monolingual Americans. This is my goal as a language educator, and a teacher of teachers.

Click below to view archived AATSP Member Spotlights

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