Each year, Chicanos Por La Causa awards four teachers in Arizona with the Esperanza Latino Teachers Award. This year, Rincon High School Spanish teacher Alicia Wong is one of those teachers.

“I was not expecting this at all,” she said.

Wong grew up in Mexico and moved to the United States when she was a sophomore in high school.

“I feel like that helps me understand my students who are also learning a second language when they are almost a young adult,” she said.

She originally wanted to be an anthropologist and received her degree in the subject from the University of Arizona. But once she met her husband, who is also a principal in Arizona, she wanted to settle down. Wong earned a certificate in teaching and a masters in education.

“I fell in love with it and this has everything that I like,” she said.

In Wong’s classroom, the students are learning about both culture and vocabulary. She uses hand signs and physical movement to help the students remember the different vocabulary words.

“When you add movement to the class it helps them,” she said. “I use my hands a lot to help them interpret the language.”

She said her students inspire her and bring her back to the classroom each year.

“They are the ones that help me see what works and what doesn’t work, and inspires me,” she said.



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