Señor Suarez: A Cultural Combination

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Señor Suarez: A Cultural Combination

Spanish teacher Andrew Suarez posing in front of a poster of a past Venezuelan president.

Spanish teacher Andrew Suarez posing in front of a poster of a past Venezuelan president.

Emily Mendieta

Spanish teacher Andrew Suarez posing in front of a poster of a past Venezuelan president.

Emily Mendieta

Emily Mendieta

Spanish teacher Andrew Suarez posing in front of a poster of a past Venezuelan president.

By Emily Mendieta, Staff Writer

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Moving to another country at the influential age of 16, Spanish teacher Andrew Suarez encountered a major change in his life. Born and raised in Venezuela, Suarez would later find himself yet again immersed in his culture by teaching multiple Spanish classes at West. Despite moving to a whole other continent, Suarez adopted quite easily to American life due to his fluency in English and his mother’s British background.

Although he did have a smooth transition, Suarez couldn’t help but miss his Latin roots and traditions back home. He vividly remembers everything about his times in Venezuela as an adolescent and holds onto precious memories of friends and family.

“I remember a lot of celebrations like Christmas because it’s always so festive and everything. I’m sad I can’t visit it because of the current political situation but I can’t wait till it gets better so that I can take my family and experience some of the things I’m very fond of,” Suarez said.

Although Suarez is not able to experience his Venezuelan roots in the country itself, he is optimistic of the future and stays connected with his culture in America amongst his family. He also likes to share details about his background with his students in the classroom.

“I became a Spanish teacher because I had taught tennis for many years before teaching Spanish and I enjoyed the whole instruction and teaching and being around young people. I thought it would be a good mix to teach Spanish because it was a way for me to hang on to my culture and being able to teach my culture and be immersed in it. I thought it was a good match to teach tennis and Spanish which I do,” Suarez said.

Like most language teachers at west, Suarez teaches more than one Spanish class and enjoys each one for different reasons. Suarez teaches a Spanish Lit class, Spanish conversation, Spanish 1, and Spanish 2. He appreciates his Lit class because the students get to admire the history of the language as well as the history of the culture through works of Spanish literature. In conversation, Suarez’s main goal for that class is making sure the students feel more comfortable speaking the language. Suarez loves the structure of the class because it’s more “thought-provoking” and theme orientated.

One of Suarez’s students from his conversation class admires Suarez’s encouraging intentions for the students’ overall learning experience.

“You can tell he really wants us to improve our Spanish and that our grade in the class isn’t his utmost priority, it’s how well we can speak the language and use it when we need to in our future,” senior Claudia Kedryna said.

Suarez hopes to inspire each student to take the language seriously in order to become comfortable enough with the language to converse with others in their future about almost every topic of conversation they come across.

It’s a well known that Suarez, as well as being extremely cultured, is athletic too.

“He rides his bike 8-10 miles to work, 20 miles round trip. He is the most rounded and cultured guys I know. He’s athletic and he knows a lot about different cultures,” fellow Spanish teacher David Malatesta said.

As well as developing their fluency, he hopes students will take it upon themselves to travel to a Spanish speaking country and experience what it is like to be fully immersed in Latin culture. This year specifically, Suarez is over the moon about traveling to Argentina on the annual trip with the Spanish students.

“I’m very excited because I teach the Lit class and I know that there’s a lot of rich culture coming from Argentina in regards to literature and music. I’m very excited to go with the students this spring break,” Suarez said.