Cesar Salazar, one of Hutchison’s middle school Spanish teachers, recently received the “Microsoft Best Classroom” award for his outstanding and innovative integration of Colombian culture curriculum into the Spanish language education of his classroom.
One of the ways he brought the culture to life was by hosting students from Colombia as part of the celebration of that country for the Memphis in May International Festival.
During May, Hutchison had the honor of being selected for a visit by the Cancilleria Colombia music troops of Tumaco and Palenque. The members visited with girls in Sr. Salazar and middle school Spanish teacher Sra. Glenda Akers’ classrooms. Our Colombian visitors performed traditional music while practicing Spanish with our girls through conversation and interactive games. As a special treat, our school chef prepared an authentic Colombian meal for our visitors and our girls at lunch!
Our Colombian visitors did not speak English, so our girls conversed with them entirely in Spanish. Sr. Salazar felt the class would be well prepared for this, as he teaches his Spanish classes in the same way he learned English - with full immersion.
Aside from the girls’ rigorous verbal practice in learning the language, Cesar ensures that they learn about different Spanish-speaking cultures as well. In one assignment, he gave his students the opportunity to create their own presentations about Colombia after researching the country.
Cesar is passionate about educating young minds because he had a lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. He is originally from Colombia and the youngest son in a family filled with educators. Cesar works tirelessly to make sure the activities in his classroom are engaging and imaginative, which helps inculcate the language. Some of his classroom activities include art projects, songs and dances, research projects, economic analyses, and history lessons.
Previously, Sr. Salazar and lower school Spanish teacher Sra. Kenna Chelsoi, also a native Colombian, presented at the Memphis in May International Teachers' Conference.