Señora Erika Wyatt is the new Spanish 1 teacher at Thomas County Central High School.
Señora Wyatt, who is from Colombia, South America, was a student teacher at Thomas County Middle School last year. This is her first year teaching at the high school.
“English is my second language and I wanted to give back to the community what I have been learning,” she said of teaching Spanish. “A way to do it is to help students understand this beautiful language.”
Learning any foreign language can come with many challenges, she said.
“A student comes with obstacles saying ‘I can’t. I can’t do it. I only speak English,’” Wyatt said. “You have to be open-minded, be able to absorb new things in this life. To learn a new language, you also need practice. You get the kind of ‘Eureka!’ moment like, ‘Wow,’ when you start speaking to a Hispanic person and that person answers you back and smiles because you are trying to get in touch. So remember when you speak their language, you can touch their soul.”
Wyatt believes the easiest thing for her students to learn in Spanish is nouns, “especially vocabulary that they like.” An example is papas fritas, Spanish for French fries.
“All the students love saying ‘papas fritas,’” she said.
Wyatt likes her teaching experience so far and wants to continue giving back to her students.
“I like being able to be different, creative and more open to doing different things,” she said.