Spanish degree opens career opportunity for student
The university’s first graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish now teaches at a school about an hour away from campus.
Robert “Bob” Tamez, who graduated from Texas A&M University-San Antonio in May 2018, works at Poth High School, which is about an hour away from campus, southeast of Floresville.
“We are glad to have him aboard,” Poth High School Principal, Phillip Zwicke wrote in an email Dec. 5.
Tamez started off the new school year as a Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 teacher for all levels at the school.
“The transition from student to teacher has definitely been an exciting one, especially when you have the support from the administration and also the parents of the Poth High School students,” Tamez said.
The Spanish program officially started in fall 2016. The program added a Spanish minor in August 2018.
“We have about 12 students who have continued their courses within the program and are on track to graduate this semester with either a Spanish major or minor,” assistant professor Marcus Palmer said.
Tamez said A&M-SA gave him the necessary skills to be prepared and is thankful for the time that he had on campus, especially being able to form a bond with Palmer.
“The work of a new teacher is challenging, but the experience I received at A&M-SA helped me be ready for a different type of workload,” Tamez said. “I am very thankful for that, especially Dr. Palmer.”
According to the degree plan provided by the College of Arts and Sciences, a student would have to take prerequisites and then major required courses to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish.
Either majoring or minoring in the Spanish program, students would have to take required Spanish classes within the program including a Professional Spanish class.
“My last semester was tough; I took 19 hours,” Tamez said. “But I was able to be prepared because of how tough school was.”
Palmer has noticed an increase in students wanting to start careers after graduating with a Spanish degree from A&M-SA in education, government agencies, courtroom interpreters and even with the medical field.
“A student within our program can prepare to take a state certification for a court interpreter or medical interpreters,” Palmer said.
Students are now able to understand just how important it is to be bilingual in the workplace, especially in areas such as the south side of San Antonio.
“Applicants with experience and proficiency in foreign language are given more points in the hiring process,” Palmer said.
Palmer has also noticed students who are fluent and students who are not fluent in Spanish taking the classes because they want to learn more about their history and culture.
“The program and the coursework provides readings in history, culture and in literature, which some fluent speakers are not even aware about,” Palmer said.
Palmer said he hopes students can learn more about where they come from, improve their knowledge of a language that some may have been speaking for years now and see the potential for professions and careers.
Palmer said as each semester goes on, the Spanish program will only continue to grow with students wanting to take more classes.
“It is the history, it is the culture, but most importantly it can be seen as the future,” Palmer said.
Tamez said he plans on getting his teaching license and continuing to mold young minds.
“The moments when students understand the lesson and can connect it to real life — and also building a teacher-student relationship that allows me to teach not only formally but informally — is most rewarding,” Tamez said.