OBA’s Cynthia Martinez: Teacher of the Month Presented by Oklahoma Bible Academy

Martinez started her teaching career in Ecuador about 20 years ago as Coordinator for the Language department. She has spent the last eight years as a faculty member at OBA. Today, Martinez is head of the Spanish program and teaches several classes keeping her schedule full with very little down time during the day. “I teach Spanish I, II, III, IV. My day is very busy, but I love it like that. Learning a language takes time when you are not immersed in the culture,” said Martinez. “I have students that are now in college, who come back and tell me they are minoring in Spanish because it is a great complement for their career. Others come back excited because they were able to go to a Hispanic country as part of a mission trip, and succeeded in communicating with the locals.”

Martinez said it is rewarding for her to see her students succeed in and out of the classroom. “I love to see my students grow, mature and find their call. I am talking about the incredible opportunity to share with them so many experiences. At OBA I am able to share not only Spanish but also my faith, which is a very important reason to teach there. As a Christian educator I have the opportunity and a great responsibility to influence and guide my students to seek for deeper meaning in their lives, and that is a blessing for me. At the same time, I love to build relationships with my students, and learn from them, they motivate me to be better and broaden my perspectives,” said Martinez.

Like many educators, Martinez was influenced in middle school by a teacher she had while living in New York. “When I was 13 I attended middle school in New York for a couple of years, and I had Mr. Mantovani as English teacher. He was Italian, and I saw how much he loved to teach. Growing up in Ecuador you learn other languages since you are in first grade, but it was until he was my teacher that I really learned. He had many foreign students in his class, he understood and loved us unconditionally, made us feel so capable of learning English, and challenged us in a smart way. He also used to tell us stories, I think he was so good because his family was also immigrant and understood what it is to come to a country without language,” said Martinez. “He use to tell us he believed that immigrants, especially adults wanted to learn English, but they find it so complicated because their brains are already wired for only that language, that it is not impossible but it is harder for them, but us teenagers can wake up the part of our brains that is dormant and can learn as many languages as we want, because it will be easier to rewired our brains. I tell the same thing to my students, but now his theory has been backed by science, study after study demonstrates the benefits of learning another language.”

If you are a student considering becoming an educator, listen to the words of Mrs. Martinez and the advice she gives her students. “It’s the same advice I give to my own children, there is no more rewarding profession than teaching. Very few professions give you the opportunity to feel like you are literally making a difference in the future. Go to college, study hard and if you want to become a world language teacher, travel to a country that speaks the language, be immersed and love the culture, respect their traditions and their way of thinking, only in that way you can represent it with pride and become a great Language Teacher.”