DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — For Dothan teacher Andrea Daugherty, being able to share her culture with students is a privilege.
A native of Bogota, Colombia, Daugherty uses her knowledge of Latino culture teach students Spanish and more recently, the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Right now, her students are learning about Hispanics who contributed to American society and different Latino cultural practices.
“Pre-K, Kindergarten, first grade are working on these ponchos and sombreros and maracas while my other students, second, third-grade, are making pinatas so they are learning the basics of making something from another culture,” Daugherty said.
She said these lessons allow children to learn about different customs along with a different language.
“Celebrating Las Posadas, for example, and they see people out there, a group of people knocking on doors and then just singing or praying or doing all these activities like a Nativity set,” she said. “I want them to be able to say I know what this group of people are doing.”
Daugherty also said that being able to teach Spanish not only helps students who aren’t familiar with Hispanic cultures but also Latino students themselves.
“When I started speaking their language, their native language, I can see a little sparkle in their eyes because there’s nothing better than when you’re able to understand somebody in their own language,” Daugherty said.
Being able to teach young children Spanish wasn’t always possible at DCS, but after the system restructured, Daugherty was able to teach students at both Highlands Elementary and the Early Education Center.
“So city schools are actually going beyond to make sure our students are covered in every area, and I really like that,” she said.
But above all, Daugherty teaches her students of all backgrounds to love where they come from and celebrate diversity.