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In Colorado
Playing with fire

Name: José Fresco
Grades: 9-12
Subject: Spanish level III, leve V (IB-SL), and level VI (IB-HL).
Room Number: W-319
Phone: 612-668-3030
Voice Mail: 612-668-8982

¡¡¡Bienvenidos!!!  Welcome!!!  Me llamo José Fresco (Joe Cool) and I am from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia. Yo vine aquí en 1980 to study at the University of Minnesota with the idea to go back to Bolivia once I finished my degree. However, things didn't go as planned, and I ended up staying in Minnesota, I got married and now we have the two most wonderful kids in the world. One graduated from Southwest last June and the other one still attends Southwest. Most of my  family (my mom, brothers, sister, nephews, etc) still live in Santa Cruz, but I have a sister who lives Europe also. I visit my family in Bolivia every 2 or 3 years. Three summers ago we traveled to Spain, France and Andorra and we had a great time going to the beaches, visiting museums, walking around very old cities, staying in old castles, and eating all sort of amazing foods. We also like to travel to the Boundary Waters and Colorado to do some mountain biking, hiking and visiting friends.

I am one of six Spanish teachers at Southwest and this is my thirteen year teaching at Southwest. Before Southwest, I taught at North High School for 7 years and before that, at The International School of Minnesota in Eden Prairie for one year.

This year I am teaching Spanish Level III, Spanish IB-SL (level V) and Spanish IB-HL (level VI). My classroom is in W-319 and I usually arrive to school at 7:30 A.M. and I don't leave until 4:30 P.M. or later. Parents are welcome to stop by anytime, before or after school, or even during class time to see what we are doing in the classroom. You don't need to call or make an appointment, just show up. And don't worry about interrupting the class, we won't even notice that you are there. We will do our best to ignore you.

Before teaching I worked at The Malt Shop (5 years), at Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown (5 years), at a bicycle shop (3 years), at Dayton's (now Macy's) (2 years), and at the U. of M. Hospital (for 14 years) because I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. At the hospital I worked at a pediatric station taking care of kids with cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, heart disease, kidney disease and liver disease. Some of these kids also needed heart, kidney, liver and lung transplants. While taking care of the kids, I found myself helping them with their homework, and a coworker (thank you Ann Little) suggested that I should become a teacher, hence planting the seed. That is how I found my calling. A couple of years later I went back to school to get my degree in Spanish and my masters in education.

I began teaching in 1999 and I enjoy it a lot. Being in the classroom, interacting with the students, and seeing them learn and grow is an indescribable feeling. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing former students stop by to tell me what they are up to, especially what Spanish speaking countries they have visited, or they have lived in.

In my classes, besides learning Spanish, they learn Hispanic and Latino culture from my life experiences in Bolivia and here in the USA. They also learn songs, sayings, and most importantly, appreciation for the language. I will also reinforce what you, parents, teach them at home: to be responsible, to follow the rules, to meet deadlines, to respect one another, to learn how to interact with classmates and teachers/adults in a positive way, to learn how to advocate for themselves, to have an open mind, and especially, to be tolerant of others. These life lesson, in my opinion, are going to be more important, more useful and more helpful later in life than Spanish.

I like Southwest very much. The staff is great and so are the students and the parents. Students are polite, motivated, independent and most of all, very talented. Parents have been supportive and understanding and that is the reason why we have been the best public school in Minnesota a few times and we are still one of the best high schools in the state. I am lucky and thankful to teach at Southwest and I don't have anything but good things to say about the staff, the students and their families. Let's have another wonderful year!!!

¡¡¡Buena suerte!!!

Señor Fresco