Meet Your Middle School Zumba and Spanish Teacher

11 Jan

By Mila Kwaske

For this month’s “Meet Your Middle School…” article, I wanted to focus on a club many of you may not know about--the Zumba club.  The following is my interview with Ms. DeVera.

Kwaske:  What is Zumba?

DeVera:  Zumba is a high-energy dance workout.  It uses rhythm, movement, and music from the Latin world such as cumbia, merengue, bachata, salsa, and reggaeton.  

Kwaske: When do you meet for Zumba club?

DeVera: We meet on Wednesdays during middle school lunch at 12 p.m. in my classroom (room 211).  

Kwaske: How did you get interested in Zumba?

I love transmitting my love of Spanish language and movement through Zumba. I feel like learning a language involves so much more than sitting in a classroom. You have to see it, feel it, taste it, smell it, and listen to it in order to really appreciate how it involves your whole body and mind. I remember my first time being alone in a Spanish-speaking country (Costa Rica) and instantly being magnetized to the sensory shock of full-on cultural immersion. Dancing and socializing are a huge part of Spanish culture.

Kwaske:  How long have you been teaching Spanish?

Devera:  I first started teaching Spanish as a teacher's assistant during college way back in 2006, so 12 years.  That journey brought me to teach in Chile and Ecuador before moving to New Orleans.

Kwaske:  Can anyone join the Zumba group?

Devera: Zumba is open to anyone in middle school.

Kwaske: What is your favorite food in NOLA?

Devera: My favorite food in NOLA is anything with seafood (mariscos).

Kwaske: What is your favorite thing to do in NOLA?

Devera:  Spend time outdoors, especially in City Park or Audubon Park.  I also enjoy riding my bike on the Mississippi River Trail and taking my kayak out on Bayou St. John and Cane Bayou.

Kwaske: What is your favorite thing about teaching Spanish to middle schoolers?

Devera: I love witnessing middle schoolers take risks, be absolutely OK with making mistakes, and develop a true appreciation for language learning. I love how middle schoolers are unafraid to approach a subject that is foreign and different. It shows how open-minded and curious they are. They don't get tied down or frustrated with grammatical conventions, but just embrace language for what it is. And they want to be really, really good at it. Middle school rocks! Es verdad.

If you feel like to need to move, head on over to Zumba club!

Hasta la próxima!

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