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Natalia Franco Wins Valley’s Top Teacher

Senorita Franco says learning Spanish isn't just about speaking the language, it is about understanding the culture.
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The classrooms of Buckhorn High School are nothing new for Spanish Teacher Natalia Franco. 

“So I graduated from here myself, so it’s really exciting to be back here at Buckhorn, it’s kind of like coming home,” shares Natalia Franco, the Valley’s Top Teacher. 

And at a home there is always a “familia.”

“She’s the biggest sweetheart in this entire planet,” smiles her student, Jessica Briscoe.”She is so accepting, she calls us chiquitos, which means family. So we just know whenever we are in her class we are accepted and loved for who we are.”

Senorita Franco says learning Spanish isn’t just about speaking the language, it is about understanding the culture. 

“So we take in-depth looks at all of the Spanish-speaking countries, we take virtual field trips and things like that so they can embrace the culture, and then learn to appreciate the language a little bit more,” explains Senorita Franco of her teaching strategies. 

Senorita Franco grew up in a Spanish-speaking home and her father is originally from Mexico. 

“It’s super special because I get to share with them my own traditions and tell them about what I do with my family and my dad,” smiles Senorita Franco. “I know that my dad is really, really proud to be able for me to show a little bit of Mexico here in New Market, Alabama.”

Her enthusiasm is rubbing off on her “chicos” who are excited to experience more Hispanic culture in her class. 

“Learning foreign cultures is the best way to really get more of the world and see the world even if you can’t go there,” says student Jessica Briscoe. “I am excited to do that.”

“She says we will have parties for Day of the Dead and Christmas and stuff like that,” says student Colby Campbell.

But not only does Senorita Franco want her students to be excited for classroom activities, she’s hoping to impact them the rest of their lives.

“I want them to not be afraid to try new things. If they go to a Mexican restaurant, I want them to try to speak their Spanish, and a lot of them do,” says Franco. “I also want them to travel and to always consider continuing their Spanish education.”

If you have a teacher you admire, you can nominate them for the Valley’s Top Teacher by clicking here