For eight academic years, I have had the privilege of teaching students at two large, public Hispanic-serving universities and at a private, historically Black, liberal arts university. While developing and teaching courses in Spanish and linguistics, I have worked to infuse the curriculum with perspectives on the African diaspora in the Spanish-speaking world and on Afro-Latinx representation in culture, film, and media. Additionally, I have given guest lectures in courses on cultural studies, diversity and oppression, Latin American Studies, and race, performance, and pedagogy. My own diverse life experiences have shaped me as a scholar, educator, and mentor; and these experiences motivate me to encourage and support students from diverse backgrounds.

As a baseline, my objective in each class is to guide students through the process of acquiring the skills and knowledge targeted by the course. To facilitate this goal, I apply a three-strand teaching philosophy: (1) engagement, (2) investment, (3) respect.

(1) Engagement: Course evaluations for my face-to-face classes consistently highlight my energy and enthusiasm in the classroom, and evaluations for my online classes highlight my knowledge of the subject matter. Students’ written comments have explicitly connected my energetic teaching style to an engaging classroom environment. In addition to an enthusiastic presentation (including the incorporation of audio, visual and other media), I engage students by pushing them past memorization to application by grounding new course information in familiar frames. I have also added a service learning component to my upper-division courses, and it has been fantastic to see the students seek opportunities to use their language skills to serve the university and the surrounding community.

(2) Investment: I have often stated at the beginning of a course that the class and I are a team. As the coach, I will train them and prepare them to perform at the highest level, and, as players, they are responsible for learning the playbook (the course material), showing up to practice (class sessions), and giving their best on game days (exam days). This metaphor comes from my days playing varsity basketball in high school and college and extends quite well to a classroom environment. Few things are more rewarding than seeing a student make marked progress over the course of the class. Student evaluation comments have addressed my willingness and availability to help, and also a sense that I care about the students.

(3) Respect: I demonstrate respect for my students and for the learning process by encouraging diversity of thought, and I foster a respectful classroom environment by modeling this principle in the way that I address and interact with students. As I continue to grow as an educator, I am also eager to explore new and different techniques and approaches to teaching that would best serve the student population.

Undergraduate Courses Taught

  • Spanish Linguistics
    • Structure of Spanish: Morphology and Syntax (New Mexico State University)
    • Spanish Sociolinguistics (New Mexico State University)*
    • Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics (University of California, Santa Barbara, New Mexico State University, Oakwood University)
    • Spanish Sociolinguistics: Language Attitudes (University of California, Santa Barbara, Team)
  • Spanish
    • Advanced Spanish Composition (Oakwood University)
    • Spanish Composition (New Mexico State University)
    • Spanish Grammar (New Mexico State University)*
    • Intermediate Spanish (University of California, Santa Barbara)
    • Beginning Spanish (University of California, Santa Barbara, Oakwood University)
    • Beginning Spanish Hybrid – integrating online and face-to-face learning (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Graduate Courses Taught

  • Face-to-Face
    • Advanced Structure of Spanish (New Mexico State University)
  • Online
    • Spanish Sociolinguistics (New Mexico State University)
    • Advanced Structure of Spanish (New Mexico State University)
    • Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics (New Mexico State University)

Courses in Development

  • Race in Latinx Cultures
  • Afro-Latinx Histories and Identities
  • Language and Race in Cross-Cultural Context
  • Negotiating Diasporas
  • Race in Translation

Academic Outreach

In addition to teaching university-level courses, I have participated as a teaching fellow in the academic outreach program School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society (SKILLS). In this program, directed by Mary Bucholtz (UCSB Linguistics) and Jin Sook Lee (UCSB Education), graduate students collaborate with teachers at public high schools to teach a linguistics curriculum and mentor students through the process of original research.

Throughout the semester-long course, the teaching team prepares students to position themselves as experts on topics such as youth language, linguistic heritage, and community ethnography. Based on the topics discussed in the course, students in the classroom that I co-instructed created a multimedia public awareness campaign (“Respect My Language / Respeta Mi Idioma”) that addressed issues such as language discrimination, the benefits of bilingualism, and respect for name and identity.

The process of collaborating in research with high school students and local educators was incredibly rewarding, and my teaching agenda includes plans to develop similar academic outreach programs that connect the university to the community and help prepare students for academic success.