MHS Spanish teacher shows students a new world
By GUADALUPE ENRIQUEZ
& ROSE (RONNIE) FUENTES
Manteca High Tower News
He strongly believes that the ability to speak and understand more than one language creates deeper connections with your community and the cultures of the world. Burr strives to encourage students to learn a foreign language. He believes that through a second language, students will deepen their knowledge and communication skills.
Tower News sat down with Burr to discuss his perspective on learning a foreign language, its benefits in a student’s life, and the value of allowing cultures to flourish.
Tower News: Why do you think it is beneficial to learn a foreign language?
Chris Burer: Language is about connecting with others. You can increase your chances of making deep connections with others through language and culture. … You just tap into that knowledge base that you otherwise wouldn’t have and it expands your world and you can accomplish so much more.
NT: Why did you decide to teach Spanish?
CC: It’s so dynamic. Spanish by its nature is difficult because we teach language skills and communication. It allows, in terms of different areas of news, in terms of content, to talk about the environment, we can talk about health and well-being. We can talk about all of these things, so by its nature it’s cross-disciplinary and fundamental to the core of who we are as human beings. It’s so dynamic, so diverse.
NT: What impact has teaching Spanish had on your life?
CC: The teaching itself has had a huge impact on my life, but Spanish in particular has been amazing. It really made me feel (proud and) special to watch the students grow; In some cases, I’ve seen them progress from not knowing any Spanish to making huge leaps in their abilities to do all of those things that we think are beneficial to being able to master Spanish. … I’m proud of the work they’ve done.
NT: Besides learning Spanish, why do you think understanding the culture is important?
CC: Culture is important because it reflects our identity. We all come from a cultural background… You can understand it on a deeper level – who the people are, where they come from, a bit about their family, how they think and act, their values and traditions that they hold dear who might be different from you.
NT: Since you are known to travel, do you think knowing different cultures has made your experiences different?
CC: Of course yes. I, for a very long time, spent time living and traveling in Spanish-speaking countries because it was just a richer experience, a deeper experience, my understanding and my ability to do all of these things that we were talking about – connect with people and discover the life around me. It immediately made it easier and more fun.
NT: Do you have a message for those who want to know another language, maybe Spanish?
CC: Go ahead honestly… It will take a bit of risk taking, it will take you out of your comfort zone. You’re going to say to yourself “I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know what I’m saying”, and accept that, accept the ambiguity, take up the challenge because that’s the essence of life. Spanish really sums up this process; every day show a little growth.
About the authors
Guadalupe Enriquez is a journalism student at Manteca High School. Enriquez enjoys spending time with nature alongside someone special. They also enjoy listening to music of all genres while completing tasks. Finally, in their spare time, Enriquez spends time with his friends, such as going out or hanging out at each other’s house.
Rose (Ronnie) Fuentes is a journalism student at Manteca High School. Fuentes enjoys spending time with his dogs and friends. If she could, she would save all the abandoned animals in the world. Fuentes has a dream and a passion to become a veterinarian and open her own shelter to help all homeless animals. Fuentes likes to read and listen to music to relax.