Spanish with Spunk: Earl Nowak

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Spanish with Spunk: Earl Nowak

Spanish teacher Earl Nowak is appreciated by both colleagues and students for his dedication to teaching. Photo by Katerina Paulos.

Spanish teacher Earl Nowak is appreciated by both colleagues and students for his dedication to teaching. Photo by Katerina Paulos.

Spanish teacher Earl Nowak is appreciated by both colleagues and students for his dedication to teaching. Photo by Katerina Paulos.

Spanish teacher Earl Nowak is appreciated by both colleagues and students for his dedication to teaching. Photo by Katerina Paulos.

By Sam Galanopoulos, Staff Writer

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When many people decide to become teachers, they think of the core subjects- science, math, and English. Many overlook other classes, like languages or fine arts. Spanish teacher Earl Nowak has a continuous love for the Spanish language and culture found in the world today. From majoring in Spanish to teaching it to hundreds of students a day, he can never get enough of what the language has to offer.

When entering high school, Nowak’s interest in Spanish stemmed from being surrounded by Spanish influences every day.

“When I was a junior in high school, a Mexican family moved in next door, and I quickly became friends with the oldest son, Cesar. Spending so much time at Cesar’s house with his family made me want to learn their language. Once I entered high school and began to learn the language, practicing every day helped Spanish become much more than just a graduation requirement,” Nowak said.

Aside from the Spanish language itself, Nowak loves the culture that comes along with it. He has a continuous drive to learn about the Latino spectrum of the world and how people in other countries live.

“I spent a summer studying abroad in Mexico. I fell in love with the enchanted city of Guanajuato and had a wonderful experience during my homestay,” he said. “Being immersed in the language and the culture helped me immensely and gave me the confidence I needed to become a world languages teacher.”

Nowak makes a conscious effort to bring his knowledge to the classroom. From showing cultural videos to breaking things down for students, he covers all the elements needed in an advanced learning environment.

Junior Tristan Lovestrand has thoroughly enjoyed being in Nowak’s Spanish 4 Honors class.

“I really like Nowak as a teacher. He makes class fun, every single day and that usually isn’t the case when you go to school. Especially with Spanish being a hard language to learn, he teaches it in a way that everyone can understand. Plus, he is just a funny person. He makes me laugh and that makes learning that much better,” Lovestrand said.

Both Nowak’s current and former students love his devotion to teaching. Senior Nikoleta Baxevanakis recalls how much she appreciated having Nowak as a teacher last year.

“Sr. Nowak always found a way to put a smile on your face, even if things were going bad. He always made us engaged the entire class period in whatever we were doing, and it made me want to learn more. Sometimes, certain classes can be a struggle and make you not want to attend, but I looked forward to his class every single day since he was my teacher,” Baxevanakis said.

Nowak’s dedication to his job and students is not only noticed by his students, but also his colleagues. Fellow Spanish teacher Luisa Karimighovanloo is in agreement that Nowak gives nothing less than his best effort for the education of his students.

“Sr. Nowak loves music, the Spanish language, and traveling. He has a great sense of humor and even though he identifies with ‘grumpy cat,’ he’s never a ‘grumpy’ teacher. He is always ready to help whenever needed and is just overall great,” Karimighovanloo said.

From visiting many Latin countries to teaching the language in a classroom, Nowak has done it all. His constant positivity and willingness to do whatever it takes are appreciated by many and never taken for granted.