Latin American teachers fill in bilingual teacher gaps for San Antonio ISD

One second-grade teacher from Nicaragua is among 23 Latin American teachers to join San Antonio ISD.

San Antonio ISD says it closed the teacher shortage gap by hiring outside the United States. KSAT's Camelia Juarez explains how that global approach brought the district another valuable resource -- bilingual teachers.

This is the first year San Antonio ISD is recruiting teachers from Latin America for a district-wide dual language program.

Students speaking different languages will be in the same classes learning the curriculum in both languages.

One second-grade teacher from Nicaragua is among 23 Latin American teachers to join San Antonio ISD.

It’s Emilyce Muñoz’s 12th year teaching, but her first in the US. She felt welcomed.

“I felt like related because their families or their relatives are Latin-American people, Mexican or from different countries,” Munoz said.

Munoz hopes to empower her students with two languages.

“One day they decide to go and visit their families, their relatives, they, they will be able to talk to them in their mother tongue in Spanish,” Munoz said.

Ogden Principal Nicanora Martinez knows how competitive it is to hire bilingual teachers because she was one.

“It’s one of the hardest tests to take in Texas. So even just our bilingual test is longer than any other subject area,” Martinez said.

Another benefit of the dual language program is teachers bring a piece of their home, their culture to South Texas students.

Marianna Mendoza wants to celebrate Honduras Independence Day in line with Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I was about telling my coach that I wanted to do like a dance with them, that they will practice dance that we do with kids in our, in my country,” Mendoza said.

All teachers have work visas. They are balancing their new role, while missing their families and adjusting to the culture shock of the US.

About the Author:

Camelia Juarez is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2022. Camelia comes from a station in Lubbock, Texas. Now, she is back in her hometown. She received her degree from Texas State University. In her free time, Camelia enjoys thrifting, roller-skating and spending time with family and friends.