Spanish professor tied to her culture


Rachel Johnson

Claudia Montoya, associate professor of Spanish, gives her speech to the crowd about how they should rise above hate and that love is the real way to go about things as apart of the Resist Hate rally held in Sunwatcher Plaza Sept. 1. Photo by Rachel Johnson

Born in Pueblo, Mexico Claudia Montoya associate professor of Spanish, holds her culture, life and students in high regard.

“I have all the duties of a professor, which is the grading, preparing for classes, the research,” Montoya said.

She is a working bee, but with that she also takes time to be human.

“I don’t have cable, I do however have Netflix and I like watching a movie. You would be surprised, I watch a movie once a month. I am very bad at following a series because I get bored,” Montoya said. “I do however listen to music and I like everything from classical to Latin music and even a little country. I listen to a lot of music.”

She is also not a big fan of going out to eat, she loves to spend time in the kitchen cooking up meals and while cooking she can also spend time with her four cats. She works daily on items for her job.

“It’s a lot of work, but I do love my work and that is the important part when you love what you do, it does not sound that heavy,” Montoya said.

Montoya said that her work continues even after becoming an associate professor and it is very rewarding. She likes seeing her students blossom.

“Students don’t even like Spanish, but it’s understandable because for many of them it’s just a requirement. Then you get to see in many of them [the] transformation in which they are understanding another language. Some of them have transformed fully into starting with it as requirement then it turns into their major or minor to me that is very satisfying because I have been able to [introduce] a student into something they thought was worthless,” Montoya said.

In the end, she wants to see two things in her students: for them to be bilingual and to have an open mind.

Her second reason why she is satisfied with her job is the research in her culture and growing her knowledge of the subjects.

“I love to go to conferences and hear from other people. My research covers different fields, for instance, I love to research, literary research in Latin American and Spanish writers,” Montoya said.

She loves to go to conferences talk about what she is passionate about. On April 1 she will share her research with the university.

“It is really rewarding to share this with people who may have had similar research so that you can get feedback from them so that would be kind of why my job is rewarding. I love teaching,” Montoya said.

In her 17 years being here no one ever has asked how she settled at the university.

“I started working in a private school district [in Puebla Mexico] at the same time I was studying, I was teaching Spanish at middle school and high school. I did that for eight years and at the same time I was getting my bachelors degree,” Montoya said.

She was hoping to get a master’s in Mexico, but found love and moved with her husband to Tennessee, where she got her doctorate. After getting her degree there were two positions open, one being at the university and she has been here since.