Traveling to teaching

Spanish teacher Ramon Morales reflects on being a world traveler and a multilingual.

Rachel Do, Staff Writer

On a typical day, Spanish teacher Ramon Morales picks up two cups of coffee and prepares lesson plans for the day. His goal  is to make Spanish interesting and fun, instead of forcing students to memorize concepts.

Before he became a teacher, Morales travelled to many different parts of the world, including the majority of South America, southern East Asia and some parts of Europe. His passion for learning different languages began at an early age.

“I was born in Mexico and I lived there until I was 10 years old,” Morales said. “When I came to the United States, I had to learn English. Because I was 10 years old and I loved to read, it was easy for me to do so. In fact, I had neighbors who were from Canada and I started to speak French with them.”

With his ability to learn languages, Morales quickly picked up English and French. By the time he finishined high school, he dreamed of being an interpreter for the United Nations. However,  considering his fluency with Spanish, Morales decided to become a language teacher then an ambassador.

In addition to his passion for multiple languages, Morales was a runner during his youth years. He went to the state championships and was close to making the international championships. His initial dream was to make the Mexican Olympic running team–that is, before he broke his femur. Morales decided instead to study overseas.

“In the first year of college, I was studying French and then I started to study Russian,” Morales said. “And I thought if I go to Europe, I can continue studying French, and then I can study Russian also. So, I went to southern France and attended a university in Marcé.”

Spanish teacher Ramon Morales has traveled to over 100 countries in the world.

Although he could continue to study French, he had to give up on Russian because of schedule conflicts. Instead, Morales started to learn Mandarin. In France, he also studied Italian and Portuguese.

“I knew that if I lived in the country where they spoke the language, I would learn it better,” Morales said. “So then, after a year and a half in France, I applied to go to Taiwan. I lived in Taiwan with a Taiwanese family and started to learn more Mandarin.”

While staying in Taiwan, Morales was asked to be a Spanish teacher. The Board of Foreign Trade asked him to teach some of the negotiators. He was 22 when he first taught Spanish–in Taiwan.

Morales, who fell in love with the different dialects of Mandarin, then went to the mainland China and traveled to several different cities in China including Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

After Taiwan, Morales came back to California and got his teaching credential. He now has a degree in International Relations, French language and culture and a teaching credential in Spanish and French.

While he was teaching at a high school in Camarillo, California, a publishing company asked him to develop a textbook. He developed a book called “Spanish for Mastery.”

“I started to train teachers,” Morales said. “I was a consultant with the publishing company that develops Spanish, French and German textbooks. So I would travel to different schools to help the teachers. Then, I became the international consultant. I traveled around the world to the international schools where I trained the teachers.”

Morales continued to train teachers and taught Spanish and French in Singapore, Panama and El Salvador. He came back to the United States to earn his Ph D. and was hired to work in Texas. He decided to teach at Santa Margarita three years after earning his Ph D.

“When I became the teacher for Spanish, I wanted to be different than the other teachers,” Morales said. “I wanted Spanish to be more fun. That’s how I became the teacher I am. I give extra points because I want them to learn. To me, oral language is more important than the grammar.”