WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Spotting the rhyming words one the pages of a Dr. Seuss book is rewarding for the children making up Catrina Page’s English as a Second Language (ESL) class.
“all of these students, the first language they learned to speak was not English,” Page explained. “Most of my students here, their first language was Spanish, but I have a few other languages as well.”
Page was shocked to learn she is now a WWAY Teacher of the Week. “I’m very surprise and I’m very happy!”
She splits her time between Sunset Park Elementary and Alderman Elementary Schools in New Hanover County. But she bounces around more than schools…she bounces between subjects too.
“We pretty much cover all subject areas, but we do a lot of reading comprehension and vocabulary.”
One of her students, Denisse Olivares told us her favorite color in Spanish, “Mi color favorito es azul,” she said. Thanks to the hard work of Page, little Denisse could translate. “my favorite color is blue.”
And Osvaldo Augustin? He taught us how to say “I love my teacher,” in Spanish.
“Quiero mi maestra,” he said proudly.
Some of her students speak no English upon arrival to her classroom, but the love Page has for her students is enough to knock down language barriers, “Especially because I do have them in small groups and I have them continuously year after year after year,” she said. “Then I also have their siblings so I get to know their families really well.”
In fact, her relationships are strong outside the classroom.
“I’ve had kids come in that didn’t have winter coats for example so I took them and bought them winter coats or there’s some kids that need like Christmas help so I’ve gotten them Christmas presents for them and their siblings also.”