Every year from September 15th to October 15th, we remember and celebrate the many ways that Hispanic Americans have improved and influenced the character of the United States. Moreover, on September 30th, we commemorate the Spanish language and the invaluable work of Spanish teachers on National Teach Spanish Day.
According to the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), the purpose of National Teach Spanish Day is to promote the teaching of Spanish as a profession to call attention to the current Spanish teacher shortage in the US and to emphasize the importance of Spanish as a world language.
Here are six ways to recognize these two special celebrations.
- Give thanks and educate
It’s no coincidence that National Teach Spanish Day falls during Hispanic Heritage Month. In 2019, the AATSP inaugurated the very first National Teach Spanish Day as a way to advance the teaching of Spanish, encourage students to consider a career as in Spanish education, and highlight the significance of Spanish as a global language. This year, be sure to thank a Spanish teacher and show your appreciation by educating others on the many benefits of learning the language.
What better way to enjoy the rich diversity of the Hispanic world than to read books written by Hispanic American authors? Whether you choose a novel by Sandra Cisneros, Junot Díaz’s debut collection of short stories, poetry from the hand of Julia de Burgos, or author-illustrator Angela Dominguez’s bilingual picture books, when you read works like these, you are recognizing the contributions Hispanic writers have made to literature for both the young and old.
As long as the rhythm is in tune with your mood, you can enjoy music in any language. Dance, study, relax, drive, or sing to a Spanish language song—there are as many genres as there are preferences. Some of them include Latino pop/rock, salsa, merengue, reggaeton, Tejano, cumbia, and flamenco. Enjoy the wide variety of Hispanic music available at your fingertips and have a dance party a lo loco.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t scribble a single sentence in Spanish. The only word you need to know is ¡Gracias! If you truly want to appreciate the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the US and the world, it helps to write them down. You may have to do a little research, but here are just a few examples: César Chávez (civil rights activist), Ellen Ochoa (astronaut), Luis Walter Álvarez (Nobel Prize-winning physicist), Hector Garcia (WWII veteran), Nydia Velazquez (politician). Write a thank you card to the person of your choosing and share it with your family and friends.
Commemorate the culinary delights of Hispanic cooking by going on a tasting tour of Latin America. You’ll be transported to the Caribbean when you take a bite of a savory Cuban sandwich, whisked away to the Andes when you enjoy Argentinean empanadas, or sent to the Costa Rican rainforest with a sip of a “fresco” made with tropical fruit. It’s a true fiesta for your taste buds!
Now would be the perfect time to start on or continue along your Spanish-language journey! Learn one word a day all month long, or seek out a native speaker to hone your conversation skills. What’s more, you can celebrate this month by speaking up for the rights of migrants, farmworkers, and indigenous peoples—because using your voice to uplift others is beautiful in any language.