Two world language teachers earn statewide recognition
Two teachers in Fayette County Public Schools received state-level awards during the 2019 Kentucky World Language Association conference in Lexington in late September.
- Francisco Castillo, an immersion Social Studies teacher at Bryan Station Middle School, is Kentucky’s Spanish Teacher of the Year. This honor is from the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
- Yan Wang, who teaches Chinese at Dixie Magnet Elementary, is the state’s Early Language Learning Teacher of the Year. This award comes from the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL).
“We live in a global world, and we have the responsibility to prepare students for jobs that aren’t created,” Castillo said. “I live by two non-negotiables: honesty and 100 percent effort. In the process of learning a language, I like to quote Sir Winston Churchill: ‘Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.’”
A native of Granada, Spain, Castillo came here as part of the Spanish Visiting Teacher Program. This is his sixth year at BSMS in the Spanish Immersion Program. Previously, he taught nine years at Colegio Cristo de la Yedra in Granada. He earned a master’s degree in History and his teaching credentials from the University of Granada, and he is working toward a master’s in Educational Technology.
Wang, who was born in Northeast China, has taught Chinese language and culture at Dixie since 2007; she also taught two years at Yates Elementary. She earned a master’s degree in Russian Language and Literacy from the Liaoning Normal University in China and a master’s in education from Northern Kentucky University. Before coming to the United States, she was a Russian associate professor at North-East University of China. She has also worked for the Lexington Chinese School as Chinese teacher, education coordinator, vice principal, and a board member for 16 years.
“In order to foster the global citizens, world language education should focus on developing students’ language proficiency and intercultural competence,” Wang said. “Successful relationships with friends, neighbors, and intercultural partners depend on an ability to deal with differences in a positive manner. I cannot expect all my students to continue learning Chinese once they move to middle school, but I anticipate they develop the knowledge, skills, and attitude that lead them to visible behavior and communication that are both effective and appropriate in intercultural interaction.”