Retired Rocks teacher helps because ‘I love teaching these students’

Chris Raymer, ECHO reporter

Learning that your nearly three-decade-long teaching career was about to end completely unexpectedly surprised Trinity Spanish teacher Senorita Maria Martín in March 2020.

Schools around the world have closed due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The last two and a half months of Trinity’s school year were spent off campus.

Martín retired at the end of May 2020 and moved to North Carolina. She received an unexpected call in February 2022 asking if she would be returning to Trinity for a few weeks to tutor her friend and colleague Senor Jorge Serrano during her extended absence.

“I left my house at the end of February and I can’t believe it’s almost the end,” Martín said shortly before leaving in mid-April.

Class was back for Martín at Floersh Hall, and her colleagues and students were happy to have her back. What made this experience unique for Martín and her students was that she had taught some of them in previous years.

“I love these guys and these courses so much,” Martín said. During her five weeks at Trinity, she made lasting impressions on new and returning students. She strived to make learning interesting and fun.

“I’ve had her for maybe over a month now, but when she put a sombrero on Jack (Corbett, ’23) and we sang happy birthday in Spanish, it was amazing,” said the second Emerson Cardoza.

Throughout Martín’s career, she has impacted the communities of Louisville and Trinity, but her passion for sharing her knowledge with others began before she came to Bluegrass. After graduating from college, she began teaching Italian in Puerto Rico, where she was born. After moving to the United States and seeing her children go to school, she knew it was time to get back to school.

“I thought that was where my heart was. When I moved to the United States, I stayed at home with my children, and when they started school, I decided it was time for me to come back,” Martín said.

She started her career in Louisville, just down from Trinity. “I started at Sacred Heart Model School, and I loved it there. It was a good experience and taught me a lot about teaching.

Martín’s Trinity experience began when two of his sons became Shamrocks. She loved school as a parent so much that she wanted to come back and use her teaching skills to educate the next generation of Shamrocks.

“Two of my three sons went to Trinity, and when they graduated, I felt totally disconnected from Trinity, and I didn’t like it. I thought, ‘Next time I see a announcement, I will apply.’ I needed that connection because that school was so good for them. It was perfect for me too,” Martín said. “After Paul graduated in 2002, I saw an ad in the Record and I applied, and here we are.”

At Trinity, Martín taught a variety of Spanish classes and ran many clubs and extracurricular activities.

“I used to teach class S400, which I love teaching. I used to teach S301 and S302, and now I’m only doing S302. I used to teach Spanish I advanced and honors, and now I teach four Spanish I, two honors and two advanced classes,” Martín said of his recent and past class schedules.

Outside of the classroom, Martín brought his leadership skills to the Y-Club and Trinity’s drum line.

She said, “When the drum line became available, I was part of the drum line for a long time and loved it. Oh, and I loved KUNA and KYA (Y-Club events). I was always amazed at what children could do in this environment, how much they learned and how much they debated. I have always been so proud.

After teaching at Trinity for 18 years, Martín announced his retirement in the 2019-20 school year. The end of his Trinity journey on campus came sooner than expected. The abrupt end to his career played a crucial role in his return to the underwater this year.

Martín said: “The more I thought about it, the more closure I needed. On March 13, 2020, they closed the schools. And it was my last day (on campus) at Trinity, and I never said goodbye. Not to my students, my counsel that I loved so much, to my friends, to no one. I remember when I came in late May before moving to North Carolina to pick up my belongings from my class, the school was dark. There was nobody here. After I put things in my car, I sat in the parking lot and cried because that was not how it was supposed to end.

In addition to the closure, there was another big reason for his return. “I think what really kept me coming back was the idea of ​​being here again. I love this place and I love teaching these students,” she said.

When his recent stay at Trinity ended this month, Martín said the experience gave him “closure, and teaching the students I’ve taught before in this Spanish IV class is an incredible experience. . I love it. To teach new students that I didn’t have before, I love passing on my passion for Spanish.

Her passion for teaching Spanish language and culture shines through in her classes and her personality, according to her new and returning students. Cardoza is fluent in English and Spanish, so Martín brought a new dynamic to the Spanish class for him.

“I feel like having someone there who is more fluent than me really helps me connect my ideas and improve the language I was born into,” Cardoza said. “She really helped me come out of my shell when it comes to speaking in front of my classmates.”

Martín’s return also provided a unique experience for members of the Class of 2023. Those who were in his Spanish II class their first year had it again for AP Spanish IV.

“It’s almost like reliving freshman year,” junior Mitchell Jacks said. “I like feeling comfortable enough to answer in her class. Even if you completely butcher something, she’ll help you get through it and figure it out.

Martín’s students will tell you that she likes to manage her class in a particular way, but they love the way she does it. “It’s very conversational. We would probably spend 30 minutes of class on it,” Jacks said. “The conversation was a struggle at the time (his freshman year) and took a while, but having had to struggle before has helped me so far.”

For Martín, learning should also be fun. From fashion shows in the Spanish II class to birthday portrait walls in the Spanish IV class, the students made new memories as well as old ones with Martín.

Jacks remembered a joke Martín had played around Halloween. “My freshman year, she had this decoration on her podium which was a hand sticking out of it. Niko Jones (’23) wasn’t in class that day, and I asked where he was. She said on her podium.

Martín will be greatly missed by students, new and old, as well as faculty.

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