Spanish teacher with unlikely background

March 23, 2010 — by Vijay Menon

For the casual onlooker, it may seem strange that Kansas-born Sarah Voorhees chose to become a Spanish teacher. Yet for Voorhees, the decision was an obvious one.

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher because both of my grandmothers were teachers,” said Voorhees.

Voorhees grew up in Kansas and her experiences in high school influenced her decision to pursue Spanish.

“I just had really good Spanish teachers in high school,” said Voorhees. “They always made class fun and interesting.

The best part about Spanish class, according to Voorhees, was that it always provided something out of the ordinary.

“Spanish was my favorite class in high school,” she said. “I really liked it because there was always something different.”

After high school, Voorhees moved to Colorado where she continued her Spanish education. She earned a four-year degree in Spanish before moving to Colorado State and spending a year and a half to gain her credential.

In college, Voorhees became immersed in the Spanish culture. She took advantage of the opportunity to travel south of the border in her free time to learn even more about the language. During her junior year, she took college classes with fellow students while traveling the country to visit beaches and museums.

In college, Voorhees also took French classes but found the pronunciation “hard.” She taught Spanish in Colorado after graduating but interviewed for an opening at Saratoga High when her husband found a job in the Bay Area.

“When I had my interview, I was eight months pregnant,” said Voorhees. “I still got the job.”

Voorhees, who is now in her 10th year here, enjoys joking and interacting with her students in the classroom.

“A great part about teaching Spanish is probably that you get to tell jokes that you might not be able to tell in English because it feels like ‘oh, it’s okay, I’m speaking in Spanish’,” said Voorhees.

Above all, Voorhees enjoys the process of interacting with her students and watching them become more fluent in the language.

“The best part is seeing when people really start to speak,” said Voorhees. “The students start to gain confidence and it is fun to converse with them in Spanish.”

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