Omaha Teacher Uses His History of Learning English Here to Cheer Up Students

OMAHA, Nebraska (Nebraska) — Lorena Martinez moved to the US from Mexico at just three years old.

“I didn’t know English. All my life I have only spoken Spanish, and so I find myself in a strange world where I don’t know anything and I don’t know anyone, ”said Martinez.

A few months later, she arrived in Omaha, where she began her journey of learning English.

“It was very difficult because I mean my parents, none of my family spoke English, so it took me about five years to fully understand English,” Martinez said.

She even repeated the first class. So what was holding her back?

“In fact, my teachers were the ones who really motivated me to keep going and not give up, and that’s why I decided that I wanted to someday make the students feel the way these teachers made me feel,” Martinez said.

Today, she helps 43 Hispanic students at two schools, Oakdale Primary School and Paddock Road Primary School, to learn English like they did years ago. She uses a curriculum that meets the needs of each student.

“We have tons of likes, videos for them to listen to, and we always want them to have suggestions they can practice with us,” Martinez said.

Including pictures, games and even songs.

“We try to make it fun while they are still learning vocabulary and English,” Martinez said.

She said that learning English helps students communicate with their classmates.

“I have a sense of satisfaction seeing this because I also put myself in their shoes and know what it’s like to understand nothing and then the next day to understand your surroundings a little more,” Martinez said.

But she said it was important outside of the classroom as well.

“Their future job will require them to speak English wherever they go, be it going to a restaurant, reading menus, and some menus don’t have pictures so they really need to know how to read English.” Martinez said.

And her story is impressive too.

“I actually have some students who are like, ‘Oh really, was it that hard for you?’ and I’m like, yeah, it was that hard. I also cried many times. And then they’re like, okay, we can do it, after all, “I’ll get there,” Martinez said.


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