Ms. Martinez-Lopez: From Aspiring P.E. Teacher to Spanish Teacher
Ms. Martinez-Lopez in her classroom / Credits: Evie Corr
Ana Martinez-Lopez did not initially want to become a language teacher. She was considering studying either architecture or physical education. In high school, Ms. Martinez-Lopez thought being a P.E. teacher would be “so much fun,” a “perfect idea.” she said.
Ms. Martinez Lopez was born in Spain and has been a teacher since 1997. She now teaches her native language, Spanish, at Walls. But her career in linguistics began unexpectedly.
To Ms. Martinez-Lopez, being a P.E. teacher seemed fun, but the process to study in physical education was far from enjoyable. “In Spain, to go into physical education at high levels, you need to pass this super hard exam,” she said. Initially, she did not pass the exam, but she waited a year, tried again, and passed. Her persistence and patience put her on the path to her dream job.
Ms. Martinez-Lopez began studying physical education and health at a Spanish university. There, she was offered the opportunity to study abroad at King’s College in London.
“I loved London,” she recalled fondly. “It was a really good school, it was hard.” King’s College offered a program to study linguistics which piqued her interest, and there her career goals began to shift. There, she studied with students who hoped to become language teachers. She liked sharing knowledge with other people. After studying alongside other language teachers, she decided that she too wanted to teach a language.
Throughout her career, she has had the opportunity to live and study internationally. She has lived in Spain, England, and India before D.C. Prior to teaching at Walls, Ms. Martinez-Lopez taught at Bancroft Elementary school in Mount Pleasant.
Before that, she taught at a variety of D.C. schools, including Oyster Adams for seven years. Spingarn High School until its closing in 2013, and Lincoln Middle School.
Because she has taught at many different schools, Ms. Martinez-Lopez appreciates the unique environment at Walls. “It’s very different. I really really like the students here. They are very engaged, and it is awesome to teach because you can teach in a way that feels really free and students reciprocate.”
Just like the students at Walls, Ms. Martinez-Lopez is already very engaged in the community. In addition to teaching Spanish III, Spanish IV, and Film Studies, she sponsors the Robotics Club with Mr. Vrooman, helps with the Gardening Club, and hopes to sponsor the Latin Student Union.
She hopes to “stay at Walls for a long time.” Welcome to Walls, Ms. Martinez-Lopez!