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4/23/2020 » 4/25/2020
20th International Conference on Pragmatics and Language Learning


Application Deadline: Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Short-Term (Fulbright DAST) Program

CALL FOR PAPERS: Symposium on Language Pedagogy in Higher Education (SOLPHE)

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AATSP Member Spotlights


Member Spotlight

Every month, 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/or 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. 

Maritza Sloan


Ladue Horton Watkins High School

St. Louis, MO




Every August, I get butterflies in my stomach because I know that a new school year is about to start. I will soon be standing in front of over a hundred students who are all strangers to me, but I also know that this is the beginning of more than a hundred new relationships. Teaching is a difficult and demanding career that will reveal important facets of your personality and character, but if you develop what I have come to think of as the Three Loves of Teaching, you will learn a lot about yourself and you will be committed to becoming an effective classroom teacher. I am proud to not only be a teacher, but especially a Spanish teacher, who can help expand students’ horizons beyond their current experiences by introducing them to other languages, cultures, traditions and most importantly, install in students a sense of Interculturality and Social Justice in the class.

The first love that a teacher has to find is a love of teaching. That may sound simplistic and cliché, but I believe you have to really love what you are doing in order to find a connection with your job and a desire to do it well. Every day I get up and I’m nervous because I know that I have between 60 to100 students to teach that day. I want them to have a desire to be there even though some of them carry obligations and responsibilities that may not allow them to be there. I want them to know that they are safe in my classroom and that Spanish is a subject that they can master and put into practice in their lives. Learning about the class and the students is my first goal. When I know my students and the class dynamics, I can plan my lessons accordingly.

Secondly, I believe that you have to truly love the subject you teach. For me, that is Spanish. I am a native Costa Rican. I grew up speaking Spanish and I studied it in Costa Rica, but it was not until I started learning English that I realized how much I loved Spanish language, literature, and culture. Students notice the love a teacher has for their subject, a love that can be contagious. I feel that my job is to impart a love of Spanish so that it becomes not only an academic pursuit, but also a life-long interest. If the students see the passion I have for the subject, then I know that I have successfully utilized my second love of teaching.

The third love of teaching is to love who you teach. I make a great effort at the beginning of each school year to get to know my students. Once the students notice that they are heard, respected, and valued in the class, it is easier for them to want to come to class. One way I get to know my students is by sponsoring several student groups. Through my providing opportunities for outreach, students in my class can implement what they are learning. As the sponsor of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, I like to present my students with opportunities to serve their community


Maritza Sloan received a B.A. degree in Spanish from Oklahoma State University and a M.A. in Education from Hamline University in Minnesota. She is currently working towards an Ed.D. in Social Justice from the University of Missouri – Saint Louis. In addition to her degrees, she has studied Spanish literature at the University of Salamanca, and Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

This is her seventh year of teaching Spanish at Ladue Horton Watkins high School in Saint Louis, Missouri. Prior to Missouri, Maritza taught for 15 years at Plano Independent School District in Texas. After arriving at Ladue school district, Maritza started a chapter of the Spanish Honor Society and helped the other world languages in the school to start their own societies. She also advocated for the Seal of Biliteracy for the state of Missouri and helped Ladue become the first school in Missouri to award the Seal to 22 students in 2018 and 58 in 2019 and 65 in 2020.

Maritza is a College Board AP consultant for Spanish Language and Culture and Spanish Literature and Culture.  She has presented many Spanish Language and Literature workshops and sessions at AATSP, APAC, MFLA, SWCLT, CSCTFL and ACTFL. Maritza is the President-Elect for the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

Maritza served as the Secondary Education member and Co-Chair of the Curriculum Development Committee for AP Spanish Language and Culture from July 2015 till June 2019. She is a co-author of EntreCulturas 1 a Spanish text book. In 2012, she was named Texas Foreign Language Teacher of the year.


Click below to view archived AATSP Member Spotlights

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