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Señora Basista Spotlight and Zumba Class

By: Angelina Grimm

Señora Basista, an admired Spanish teacher at Wheaton North, was asked to reflect on her time and career and she heads off into retirement at the conclusion of this school year.

As a child, Señora Basista always dreamed of becoming a teacher. She would play school with her toys by trying to teach them various subjects. She had also developed an interest in dance and wished to become a professional dancer. During high school, Señora Basista was very involved in various activities and loved her experience overall. At that time she began learning Spanish. Following high school, she moved on to major in Spanish at college. Basista reflects on her career by saying, ”I feel very blessed to have fulfilled my dreams to become a Spanish teacher and a Zumba fitness instructor.” After college, she went on to teach at various high schools and colleges in the area. Additionally, through the Regional Office of Education she extended her teaching to Dupage County educators who wanted to learn Spanish such as social workers, nurses, and counselors. Her successful career led her to the opportunity to be a part of the Illinois State board of Education Teacher Preparation and Licensure Board. Teachers from all over the state were on the governing board to make sure colleges were implementing proper preparation courses for future teachers.

Señora Basista has experienced many traditions and memories here at Wheaton North. Her favorite traditions include being able to attend the Seniors Honor Assembly and Breakfast of Champions during the school year. In addition to the classic tradition of wearing blue and gold on Fridays. Basista reflects on being able to go on field trips with her Spanish classes. Her favorite trips include the AP Spanish field trips to Cafe Baba Reeba, where students learn about Spanish culture by watching flamenco dancing and enjoying Spanish cuisine. Additionally, students visit the Mexican Fine Arts Museum in Chicago where they have an opportunity to see many murals in the area while learning about Mexican culture.

In addition to being a Spanish teacher, Señora Basista is also a Zumba instructor. She explains how “the purpose of a Zumba class is to exercise and learn to dance with Latin music.” The music includes songs with a variety of salsa, bachata, merengue, reggaeton, flamenco, and more while throwing in exercise moments. While instructing fitness classes she has learned the importance of reading the crowd prior to making the movements in order to make sure that everyone is safe and can participate. She adds how, ” it's inspiring people to keep moving, your whole body is meant to move”. In order to teach Zumba classes an international Zumba certification is required to learn all the steps in addition to having to be certified to teach in a fitness studio to make sure everyone is safe, which includes being trained in CPR. Recently the Spanish club hosted a Zumba class taught by Señora Basista. The Spanish club had a blast and a great workout while dancing with their friends and classmates.

Señora Basista has learned many important skills and lessons as a teacher. She shares some of her best advice that she would present to a new teacher. She believes that every day is a new beginning and it's important to smile and laugh and be a bright light in the lives of others. Additionally, treat everyone with respect and work collaboratively with colleagues. Teachers are role models to the students so speak impeccably with your words. Student behavior is impacted by many things so don't take anything personally because what others say and do is not about yourself. She also suggests being organized, prepared, and always having a backup plan. Also, never make assumptions, and always ask questions respectfully before jumping to conclusions. Finally, she adds, ”if you make a difference in the life of just one student, then you have made a difference.”

With over 30 years of teaching experience, she has brought both energy and passion into the classroom. After traveling to ten Spanish speaking countries and learning about how people pass down traditions through their cultural heritage, she greatly enjoys getting students excited about Hispanic and Latino culture. With Señora Basista’s upcoming free time, she plans to spend lots of time with her family and wants to travel. She will also continue teaching Zumba classes. Señora Basista has had an incredibly successful teaching career and acknowledges that, ”While I will miss Wheaton North, I'm excited to begin a new stage of my life.”

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