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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Spanish Teacher Srta. Prisila Samaniego-Marin Fosters a Supportive Environment for Students

Courtesy of Srta. Samaniego-Marin
Recalling on school fondly, Srta. Samaniego-Marin aims to emulate the safe environment her teachers fostered in her classrooms growing up. Supporting students is her top priority as she begins her first year of teaching in her own classroom at Westwood.

Through the halls of Westwood, up the stairs to the F-Wing, and hidden in a corner is Srta. Prisila Samaniego-Marin’s classroom. Large, colorful posters lining the walls and rows of papel picado hanging from the ceiling are telltale signs of a Spanish classroom. A small step into the room, and the atmosphere is immediately warm and welcoming. 

A familiar face to some and new to others, Srta. Samaniego-Marin is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and participated in the UTeach Liberal Arts program. She taught as a student teacher at Westwood in the final semester of last year and this year was ready to settle into a classroom of her own, where she now teaches Spanish 2 and 3. 

“School should be a safe place for students, and that’s why I decided to become a teacher,” Srta. Samaniego-Marin said. 

Srta. Samaniego-Marin recalls school fondly, as it remains a wholesome part of her childhood. Teachers were often role models to her: figures who not only facilitated learning but were a source of inspiration and comfort. 

“When I started analyzing my life, I realized what school meant to me, and I feel like school was always a safe place,” Srta. Samaniego-Marin said. “I could count on my teachers as well as my counselors, and I wanted to do something similar so that’s when I thought of becoming a teacher.”

Although a native Spanish speaker, Srta. Samaniego-Marin views teaching Spanish as a way to delve deeper into learning customs and traditions of her own and other Spanish-speaking cultures.

“It’s not just people from Mexico who speak Spanish, there’s so many countries. This is a good way to get to learn other cultures and still be in touch with my own,” Srta. Samaniego-Marin said. 

To the new Spanish teacher, students are a huge priority. She is especially excited to see her many students flourish throughout the year and eagerly awaits progress. 

“For me, just seeing the students improve is enough,” Srta. Samaniego-Marin said. “I don’t have a rule where they have to be at a certain point by the end of the year, since everyone is at a different [level].”

Due to her teachers playing an influential role in Srta. Samaniego-Marin’s life, her goal is to build strong connections and long-lasting relationships with her students. 

“I was a student-teacher at Westwood last year. It’s nice when my old students, since some are right next door, come and say ‘hi’ to me. It makes me really happy,” Srta. Samaniego-Marin said. “It makes me feel good that I was able to make these kinds of relationships with my students because they trusted me.”

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Jia Chun
Jia Chun, Reporter
Class of 2026 Along with writing, I love listening to r&b, journaling, and have a newly found interest in painting. I'm excited for my first year in Student Press and the new experiences I'll encounter.

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