Sonia Sotomayor teachers share the culture of their home countries with students

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Teachers and interns at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary come from all over the world.

Inside the classrooms at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary School, you’ll find staff members from around the world, including first grade teacher Yubeth Medina.

“I’m from Colombia,” Medina, a first grade teacher, said.

Second grade teacher Lissette Gutierrez is from El Salvador.

In their classrooms, and every classroom at the immersion school, only Spanish is spoken.

“So they try to communicate with me in Spanish. So they try. And they try hard. And that is something I really love because when they are trying to speak in Spanish, they are learning more,” Gutierrez said.

But learning Spanish every day isn’t just about the language, it’s about the culture too.

“Because you get to know Spanish, of course, but how Spanish is in Spain, how Spanish is in Colombia, how Spanish is in El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Chile, I mean, everywhere. So, they get the possibility to know, of course the language, but the culture. How we’re different, but we’re the same because we live in the same world and we speak the same language,” Medina said.

Students get to learn what makes each of their teachers’ home countries unique.

“I play music and I play a video where some Salvadorians are dancing with beautiful dresses and they like to, you know, to try and try to imitate that dance. So that’s something I really love to do everyday,” Gutierrez said.

“Sometimes I just like play some music and they get to watch the videos and they’re like, ‘wow what’s that, why are the houses so close to each other,’ for example, or ‘why do you have those very tall buildings.’ I live in a capitol city so it’s kind of huge. And, ‘what is that little bus,’ and I’m like that is the public transportation, I take the bus, and they’re like, ‘oh my gosh,'” Medina said.

Teachers sharing their stories, language and culture each and every day.

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