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Maria Madrid has been selected as the Incredible World Language Teacher of the Year by the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina.
Madrid is a second-grade Spanish Immersion teacher at Elm City Elementary School,
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Madrid said. “For me, it was a real honor. I couldn’t be more excited. I was super, super surprised.”
A native of Spain, Madrid was brought to the United States to teach as part of the cultural teacher exchange program called Participate.
Madrid received her bachelor’s degree in English from the Universidad Camilo Jose Cela in Madrid, Spain, and graduated with a master’s degree in English as a second language from Greensboro College.
This is Madrid’s eighth year as a teacher and her fourth year in the United States. This is her first year at Elm City Elementary.
She had previously taught at Wells Elementary School and Margaret Hearne Elementary School as a Spanish immersion teacher. When the program was consolidated at Elm City Elementary, Madrid moved with it.
The program was started five years ago.
“In the Spanish Immersion Program, we teach each of the contents in Spanish, so we teach math, social studies, science, everything in Spanish,” Madrid said. “They learn how to read and write in Spanish in kindergarten. They learn to read in Spanish before they learn to read in their own language.”
The Spanish Immersion program is not just about the language.
“It’s not just learning the contents of the curriculum, learning how to read and write. It’s also about our cultures, our tradition and the way that we teach,” Madrid said.
Madrid keeps a flag from the country of Spain as one of the elements of educational items on the wall in her classroom.
The purpose of the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina is “to promote opportunities for all students from kindergarten through post graduate studies to develop a high level of competence in at least one language in addition to their own; to provide leadership, support and service to those committed to language learning; and to coordinate the efforts of all those involved in education to make language learning in programs of excellence a reality for all.”