Martin, Coral

May 1, 2003, midnight | By Allison Elvove | 17 years, 8 months ago

Name: Señorita Coral Martin
Subjects: Spanish 3 and 4
Education: High School: Aljarafe in Sevilla, Spain; Colleges: University of Sevilla, 1994 - 1999, Catholic University, 1999 - May 2001
Degrees in Chronological Order: BA/MA in Licenciada en Filología Inglesa (English major); Masters in Spanish and Latin American Studies; Certificada de Aptitud Pedagogia (teaching certificate)
Previous Jobs: waitress at a restaurant and hotel; teaching assistant at Catholic University where she taught Flamenco dancing, held film festivals, and participated in cultural field trips; English teacher of children in Spain; au pere for a family in England
Montgomery Blair: since 2002
Hobbies: spending time with friends; reading; going to movies; cross stitching
Extracurricular Activities: swim team; piano classes; choir

On any given day, Señorita Coral Martin can be seen chatting in Spanish with colleagues in Montgomery Blair High School's Foreign Language Department. She seems at home in this environment, which is surprising since she only arrived here from Spain in August 2002.

Martin grew up in Sevilla, but before she began the intense process of a teaching career, she says blushing, her true ambition was to be an airplane stewardess. When she was seventeen, Martin was actually offered the chance, but her parents were not supportive of the idea. Instead, they wanted her to attend college and expand her knowledge of possible careers. She relented, realizing that an occupation as a stewardess would only support her for a limited time. "I knew it wouldn't last forever," Martin sighs. A friend then suggested she pursue teaching in America. Martin remembered having good experiences with her previous English teachers. There was something "crazy " about these professionals, "and I wanted to be like them," Martin grins.

During the five years of pursuing her education degree in Sevilla, one of Martin's previous employers advised her to live with a British family during the summer for an opportunity to perfect her English. "I wanted to practice in real life and learn [about] culture," she says, content with the decision. In England, Martin stayed with a family in which the mother had terminal cancer. Martin offered her assistance in every way possible: driving the children to various activities and offering to clean the house. She found the experience priceless.

In 1999, after completing her BA and MA degrees in English, Martin found herself at Catholic University in D.C., where she became a teaching assistant, while continuing her education. In 2001, she received her Masters in Spanish and Latin American Studies as well as an award presented by her students and supervisors. Martin realizes how unique the honor was as she contrasts Spanish and American culture. "In Spain, we're not [as] competitive so there are no awards," Martin emphasizes. Continuing, she reflects she did not know what to say in her speech, but upon remembering that Julia Roberts recently had won an award, Martin told the assembly, "I feel better than Julia Roberts and her Oscar." Martin pauses as she remembers the laughter of the crowd during this distinguishing moment.

Martin returned to the University of Sevilla from May 2001 until August 2002 to complete a class before obtaining her full teaching degree. After nine months, Martin took a required exam to teach in public schools in Spain but failed. The event prompted her to accept an earlier honor offered by the University: to teach in Montgomery County, Maryland. Even before these life-changing events, though, Martin knew she wanted to live in the U.S. "for the adventure, for the culture," and for the experience.

There are many aspects of teaching Martin enjoys, but communication with pupils is number one. "I love when my students show me that they appreciate what I do for them," Martin says with enthusiasm. She, therefore, feels her best accomplishment is not her award or transition to the U.S. but rather "mak[ing] difficult students trust me, come to me to ask me questions." She wants to share her knowledge with the class and receive respect in return. "I like when you build a community [in the classroom]," says Martin. She has found this community at Blair, and as the murmurs rise and fall in the Foreign Language Department, Martin says warmly, "I was really curious about the States, [and] I like it."

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Allison Elvove. Allison Elvove was a Co-Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2004-2005 school year. She wrote more than 70 articles while on the staff and supervised 40 student journalists, editing articles on a daily basis. During her time as editor, Silver Chips Online won the … More »

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