Office: Wells Hall 1011G
B.A., M.A., Spanish, New Mexico State University
Rene Baca began teaching Spanish at WVC in 2015.
From the WVC Discover magazine, spring 2016:
René Baca grew up in a bilingual environment in his hometown of Alamogordo, New Mexico. He didn’t take formal Spanish courses until he attended university. “I thought it would be an easy A,” he said. Instead, he developed a stronger cultural appreciation and realized there was more to language than just speaking it.
“I was given gold,” René said. “The gold was knowing a second language.”
On the other hand, he knew what his calling was much earlier—since he was six years old, René knew he wanted to be a teacher. His destiny was, perhaps, in his name.
“My mother assigned me my destiny. She named me after her favorite fourth grade teacher,” he said.
René earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Spanish from New Mexico State University. He studied abroad in Monterrey, Mexico, and served as the director of a language learning center and as an instructor at New Mexico Highlands University before moving to Wenatchee. At WVC, René teaches a three-course Spanish series, which consists of Spanish 121, 122 and 123, and he teaches a fourth course, Spanish III for Native Speakers. Students in either the Spanish series or the Native Speakers course will learn not only the language; they will also learn about Spanish culture or discover more about their own heritage.
“Students will understand and embrace where they’re coming from,” René said. “They need to capitalize on their linguistic assets.”
Spanish is invaluable not only in the Wenatchee Valley, where almost one third of the population is Hispanic, but throughout the world.1 Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world, right after Mandarin. English ranks third in spoken languages. Spanish is also the official language of 21 countries, with more than 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide.2
Knowing a second language “opens your mind to the differences in the world,” René said. “Language is a bridge.”
“I want students to have a conscious knowledge of the importance of acquiring a second language,” René said. “They need to be active participants in their language learning.” In order to help students actively participate while learning a new language, he works to create a confidence-building environment, one in which students can acquire and use the language without fear.
1 “Wenatchee (city) Quick Facts.” United States Census Bureau, Dec. 2, 2015, quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/53/5377105.html.
2 Catherine Mansfield. “Spanish: speaking the language of 400 million people,” British Council, Aug. 22, 2014, britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/spanish-speak-language-400-million-people