Teacher Appreciation: Sra Cristina Ziegler

Sra Ziegler taught Spanish at Souderton Area High School from 1978-2011.

Sra. Ziegler was a very rare and wonderful teacher. Anyone who had her as a teacher left her class being able to actually speak Spanish. Her classroom was a "no inglés" zone. And we all complied, for fear of being awarded the dreaded "cheque menos" during her class. But as a result, we spoke Spanish above and beyond the level of any of our friends who went to other high schools or took other Spanish classes. If you took her classes all the way to Level 5, you learned to converse very fluently, read books, write papers and stories, and hold detailed discussions, taking turns at being both participants and moderators. It became second nature in that class to talk to and joke with your friends in Spanish (is it really misbehaving if you're doing it fluently in the language you're supposed to be learning? ;) and some of us even started dreaming in Spanish, which Señora told us meant that we were really fluent. She ran her class masterfully. We all knew she meant business, so her class was very orderly, but also very fun. She had a wonderful sense of humor, and allowed for a ton of student input, conversation and games. In fact, she began every class with a solid 30 minutes of (structured) conversation. Spanish became a true love of my heart, and I am forever grateful to Señora Ziegler for giving me an environment where I could run with that to my heart's content, always being challenged and discovering wonderful things about language. She was an incredibly important and instrumental person who helped me discover the love for language and culture that God placed in my heart that truly makes me come alive. Since high school, I have taken Spanish classes in literature, history, advanced grammar, and translation. I've taken several linguistics courses. I've been on a 3-month missions trip to South America. I've taught English to Spanish-speaking adults. I've worked with a family from Cuba as a refugee caseworker. I've been an interpreter for in-home therapists who work with children. God has drawn out of me this gift that He put inside me, and used it to miraculously connect me with so many people in so many deeply meaningful ways that only He could have orchestrated, and I am forever grateful to Señora Ziegler for her part in that. 

~submitted by Jen Heavener

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