Dr. Alegría Ribadeneira
Colorado State University - Pueblo
Why I teach
Every day I am inspired by my brave, hardworking students who despite many obstacles, pursue an education. When I began my career as a Spanish teacher, I had no idea the degree to which a language teacher could transform students’ lives through education. Today my students are my purpose. I am driven by the fact that Spanish classes for heritage language learners help close the Latino achievement gap by empowering and teaching students transferable skills they can use to be successful in their entire college career and beyond. I am also driven by the admiration I have for my second language learners who, despite not having any cultural connection with Spanish, gather the courage and put in the work to develop their language skills to better their lives and the lives of others. When my students go out into the world, they are making it a better place.
We are familia
Students join the Spanish program to grow their language skills, but I want to give them more. I love building community, and when students sign up for my classes I give them a big hug and welcome them to our “familia.” When I see them in the hallways I call out “mijito” or “mijita.” With so many of my students being first generation, I often become their counselor, mentor and cheerleader, and I relish that role. In my office we plan their careers, we laugh, we cry, we sing. In graduation I am in the front row screaming as each of them gets called to the podium. What an honor it is to be part of their success story.