Román balances natives, beginners

Eighteen years of experience in teaching Spanish as a second language has paid off for David Roman, the newest foreign language teacher at ULV. Originally from Temixco, Mexico, Roman plans to earn a doctorate in the literature of Latin America. / photo by Andrew Woolsey
Eighteen years of experience in teaching Spanish as a second language has paid off for David Román, the newest foreign language teacher at ULV. Originally from Temixco, Mexico, Roman plans to earn a doctorate in the literature of Latin America. / photo by Andrew Woolsey

by Elizabeth Rodarte
Staff Writer

David Román, a 37-year-old from Temixco, Mexico, was so enthralled by the University of La Verne’s Spanish Department, that he left his family and friends in September 1996 to come to “el norte” and teach.

Román found out about ULV’s Language Department when he taught in Cuauhnahuac Institute in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

“I became interested in teaching Spanish at ULV so I decided to call and find out more information,” said Román.

Román came to visit California for a couple of weeks and that is when he took the opportunity to arrange an interview with ULV’s Modern Languages Department.

“I believe it was my 18 years of experience in teaching Spanish as a second language that got me hired,” said Román.

According to Dr. Andrea Labinger, chair of the Spanish Language Department, the language department was impressed with Román’s long teaching record, and the fact that he was accustomed to teaching North Americans.

Román was interviewed by the entire Modern Languages Department.

Chair of Language and Literature Department, Gerard Lavatori said, “Román was very dynamic and enthusiastic throughout the interview.”

“We were also impressed with the success most students have when they study at Cuauhnahuac and other institutes in Mexico,” said Dr. Labinger.

Román said, “It took about four weeks for me to find out that I was hired.”

He was hired by the Modern Languages Department with the conditions that he was going to work for one year.

He then went back to Mexico to get his visa and received permission to teach in the United States.

“David has been one of the greatest teachers I have ever had,” said sophomore Lesly Mendez, a student of Román’s Spanish for Native Speakers class. “He takes his time to make sure we are understanding the material.”

“My goal is to do a good job teaching to both the beginning Spanish speaker as well as the native,” said Román.

“David is a terrific teacher who is very encouraging, said freshman, Georgina Negrete, Román’s student in his Elementary Spanish class.

Junior Regina Manley, Román’s student in Spanish for Native Speaker’s Class said, “His positive aptitude creates an environment that optimizes learning.”

According to Manley, Román often stays after class to help students with any questions or problems that the students might have.

Román is one of the few teachers with many outstanding qualities,” said psychology major Maria Ramirez, Román’s student in Spanish for Native Speakers class. “He also knows the subject really good.”

Román is a man full of goals and dreams.

He is looking forward to attending a big university such as University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) to earn his doctorate in Literature of Latin America.

“But first I need to find financial support,”said Román.

Román received a bachelor’s degree in education and his master’s in history of Mexico. He attained both degrees in Mexico.

Román said his two main supports at ULV have been Dr. Labinger and Elena Cardeña, ULV’s Catholic campus minister.

Cardeña said,”I think we are very lucky to have David’s background, expertise, and dedication here at ULV.”

Cardeña said she has sat in Román’s Spanish for Native Speakers class a few times and has always learned something new.

Román feels that ULV can improve their Spanish Department by offering field trips to places where the student will be required to interact only in Spanish.

“Maybe go to Tijuana, Olvera Street and in general, have access to art and music.”

“I have also taught in Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pa., College of Saint Rose in Albany N.Y. and held conferences in Harvard University,” said Román.

Cardeña said, “He always has a newspaper in his hand or is downloading something from the web so he can stay informed of what’s going on in the politics in Mexico.”

Cardeña added that one of Román’s biggest strengths is his commitment to social situations and problems that affect Latinos, Mexico, his home country and the United States.

Besides teaching at ULV, Román also works with the First Generation Student Success Program by translating documents and has agency in Mexico that offers a variety of services to foreigners.

“I organize seminars on the history of Mexico, the economy and the politics,” said Román. “I also provide legal information to future investors from other countries that wish to work in Mexico.”

His most recent job included organizing a conference, where he toured a group of 50 Indian-American representatives of tribes from the United States in Cancun, Mexico.

Román has been married for five years and has a 2-year-old daughter.

“My family is sad for the distance that keeps us apart, but on the other hand, are completely proud of me for the job I hold,” said Román.

Román said he gets especially lonely when he is having rough times or during the holidays.

He only has been able to visit his family in winter session and summer.

“I think La Verne is a very diverse community,” said Román.

He likes the small size of classes at ULV and enjoys the up close and personal relationship with his students.

Next semester, Román will be teaching Commercial Spanish and Elementary Spanish.

Román’s hobbies include reading material related to his career, playing soccer and dancing.

He is currently writing a proposal to the United Nations to establish an International Studies Center in Mexico.

“I want it to be a center where not only English, Spanish, German, French will be taught but also, Nahuat’l and other indigenous languages of Mexico and other countries,” said Román.

Román wishes for everybody to become multicultural and experience the different cultures through languages.

“Beginning by keeping our own culture and then learning from others,” said Román.

Dr. Labinger said, “I think it is a great advantage for ULV students to get David’s perspective on cultural and political relations between our two nations.”

After being evaluated by the students and the Modern Languages Department, Román was invited to stay and teach another year.

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