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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

From Language Barriers to Leading Classrooms

Maria Gavilanes eases students into a new language
Mrs. Gavilanes
New language teacher Maria Gavilanes travels to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

   After multiple years of teaching at various schools including Lake Mary and Lake Howell high schools,  world language teacher Maria Gavilanes took a leave of absence in order to live in Brazil with her husband. Upon her return, Gavilanes began substituting at Trinity Prep, where she said she fell in love with various aspects of the school. Gavilanes now teaches Spanish cinema for conversation and Spanish 1B at Trinity. 

    “I came to Trinity as a substitute last year so that I would work two days a week and I fell in love with the school, the students, the faculty, and the school itself,” Gavilanes said.

   For Gavilanes, the decision to return to teaching was inspired by the atmosphere and family at Trinity Prep 

    “What I love [about Trinity] is the sense of family and students,” Gavilanes said. “It seems like they get along with each other so well, they respect each other.”

   Originally from Puerto Rico, Gavilanes moved to the United States at the age of 13. Starting high school in a new country came with many challenges, including the distinct language barrier between her and other students.

   “It was very difficult because I didn’t have the English skills that my friends had,” Gavilanes said. “I would go home and look at all my notes from class and redo them in Spanish.”

   After adjusting to life in America, Gavilanes attended UCF, where she earned her bachelor’s degree.  A few years later, she attended Nova Southeastern University, where she earned her master’s degree. Gavilanes found her passion for teaching at a young age, inspired by her unique high school experiences.

   “My teachers in high school, when I took Spanish, always used me as an assistant because I was the only Spanish speaker in the class,” Gavilanes said. “They would make me teach the imperfect versus preterite to the kids, so I had a little bit of teaching experience as a highschool student… I think it’s always been in the back of my head ever since I was a little girl to be a teacher.”

   Aside from teaching, Gavilanes loves to travel and experience different cultures around the world, her favorite destination being Spain. Aside from traveling, she also enjoys pilates and Peloton biking, as well as encouraging those around her to do the same.   

   “I ride my peloton bike five to six days a week mainly for health reasons, but it’s become a hobby and I’ve inspired many people to do the same. I sold 17 bikes to my neighbors and friends.” 

   As a teacher, she hopes to stifle the stress students face while learning an unfamiliar language. Gavilanes does this by creating an environment where her students can succeed.  

   “My greatest goal as a teacher is to make my students feel relaxed, happy and at ease,” Gavilanes said.  “When you’re learning, those are feelings that you have to have, the only way you can absorb or make something new become a part of you is when you’re enjoying it.”

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About the Contributor
Rahul Sivakumaran
Rahul Sivakumaran, Staff Writer
Rahul Sivakumaran is a senior entering his first year on staff. Rahul will be a writer for the sports department. He plays travel ice hockey for the Central Florida Bears. He is an academic scholar, dedicated athlete, and also enjoys baking delicious cookies of all kinds in his free time. If you would like to reach Rahul, please do so at [email protected].

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