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Teacher Feature: Marianna Gazzara


Spanish teacher Marianna Gazzara has always been family-oriented. Having lived most of her childhood with her parents and sister and near her grandfather, Gazzara’s strong family connections helped her develop a passion for speaking and teaching Spanish as well as working in a job that allowed her to engage with others. 

“My grandpop would always tell me stories of when he went and got to meet a lot of his family members in Spain, so I was always interested,” Gazzara said.

With the knowledge from her grandfather and the inspiration of Spanish teachers at Springton Lake Middle School in Media, Gazzara decided to participate in a student exchange program in Spain during high school.

“It gave me a lot of motivation to keep learning because I wanted to use my Spanish to keep meeting new people and communicate with my exchange student and her family,” Gazzara said. 

While in Spain, Gazzara became close with her exchange family and yearned to be able to have conversations in Spanish with them, as well as hoping to spread her love for Spanish culture with others back home.

“I think after going to Spain and getting to see firsthand all of these things I had been learning about, I felt like I wanted to share that passion with other people,” Gazzara said. 

Following her desire to have a job allowing her to be in an environment with others and speak Spanish, Gazzara decided to attend Temple University.

“I think I just wanted to be in an urban environment,” Gazzara said. “When I went to the orientation, I think I just got good vibes from the different people there, and I felt like it was a really diverse school, which was important to me.”

Following her passion, Gazzara double-majored in secondary education and Spanish while also earning a certificate in teaching English as a Second Language. 

Gazzara now teaches multiple levels of Spanish though her favorite to teach is Spanish 5 because of the higher proficiency levels of the students and the ability for students to speak and participate more freely.

“It’s not as focused on really specific concepts. I think it’s more open-ended. I think this allows teachers more freedom to choose things that are of interest to students but also things that teachers feel passionate about.”

Outside of teaching, Gazzara enjoys cooking, baking, traveling and doing Zumba.

“I like Latin music and listening to music in Spanish, and I think that from that I was interested in doing Zumba,” Gazzara said. 

This past September, Gazzara got married in downtown Philadelphia, at a venue called the Olde Bar, where she was able to immerse her Spanish culture into her wedding.

“(At the Olde Bar) there is this Ecuadorian chef named Jose Garces, and he specializes in Spanish cuisine. He has a bunch of restaurants in the city, so I chose that venue because I was hoping to highlight Spanish food,” Gazzara said. 

In her free time, Gazzara enjoys making Spanish food on her own. Her current favorite food is arroz con pollo, or chicken with rice. She has recently tried making a broader range of foods, including tostones, empanadas, and tapas. 

“I do like to experiment, especially in the summer, so gazpacho is next on my list,” Gazzara said.

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