Speaking multiple languages has always been a part of dual language teacher Gloria Prieto-Puentes’ life. Growing up in Spain, she and her family spoke Castilian (Spanish) and Catalan in their home.
“The fact that we spoke two languages at home, with such different cultures even inside of Spain, opened my mind when we visited family in the Castilla and Catalonia regions,” shared Prieto-Puentes. “We read books in both languages, ate different types of food, learned different aspects of the culture.”
Prieto-Puentes enjoyed growing up in Barcelona, a port city with many visitors. “We were able to meet people from all over the world,” she said. “My family and I loved strolling down Ramblas and seeing the people that were coming down from the big ships.”
Prieto-Puentes is now a second-grade dual language teacher at Lakewood Elementary. Her classroom is very diverse with students whose heritage goes back to countries including Denmark, Brazil, China, Ecuador, El Salvador and more. Having grown up in a multilingual environment, she understands how many of her students feel when they first arrive in Dallas coming from a different culture and speaking a different language.
She loves to help her students adapt to living in Dallas while also celebrating and staying connected to their heritage. One way she stays connected to her Spanish roots is by helping organize events with fellow Spanish friends to honor their culture and share it with others, including students.
Prieto-Puentes knows the value of community and is close with her dual language colleagues in the district, sharing resources, planning cultural events and helping new teachers.
“My heritage goes with me always,” she shared. “I love sharing stories from my city, my family, my old school, my culture, and I love listening to other people’s, too.”
And in regard to Hispanic Heritage month, Prieto-Puentes shared an invitation. “We all speak Spanish but the culture of the countries where Spanish is spoken is so diverse that we invite non-Hispanic people to visit, read, taste and have a glimpse of what we have to offer: literature, history, food, celebrations… you will enjoy so much!”