The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Staff Profile: Rosa Pissani Medina incorporates culture into the classroom

Samantha Crowther
Rosa Pissani Medina stands behind her desk, preparing for her next lessons. She tries to be available during lunch and after school for her students if they need to make up tests or come talk to her. Pissani also features decorations for different cultural holidays. “Día de los Muertos was really fun to learn about with my students, and I love decorating my classroom for it,” Pissani Medina said.

Many people experiment with different careers or future goals before settling on a profession, but Carlmont High School Spanish teacher Rosa Pissani Medina always knew she wanted to teach.

Pissani Medina grew up in Peru, and her high school physics teacher inspired her to become a science teacher.

“The funny thing is, my dad was so mad at me when I said I wanted to be a teacher because in Peru, teaching jobs have the worst salary,” Pissani Medina said.

This did not deter her; she pursued her degree in biology and went on to teach it for 11 years. 

Then, after learning about the bilingual teacher program offered by the U.S. Embassy, she moved to the United States in 2001. 

“I had applied a year before and then got the invitation; the district was accepting bilingual teachers in different subjects, so because of my biology degree, I was able to go,” Pissani Medina said. 

Initially, Pissani Medina taught a biology class in Spanish for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students at Sequoia High School and a night class at Sequoia Adult School. 

“I was the first teacher to use the textbook in Spanish, and I had to type out my own handouts in Spanish,” Pissani Medina said.

In 2015, she wondered what it would be like to teach her native language instead of biology, so she got her Spanish credential and started planning. 

“I love teaching Spanish to my students; it’s so much fun, experiencing different cultures, learning the dialogues of other places and different traditions and celebrations,” Pissani Medina said. 

Carlmont student Kaitlyn Sam, who took the class as a sophomore, explains that she enjoys these aspects of the class. 

“I liked the projects we did where we got to learn a little bit about culture, like the holiday Día de los Muertos,” Sam said. 

Pissani Medina’s class covers various grammar, vocabulary, and culture topics, sometimes using videos or games like Quizlet Live to master the concepts. 

Carlmont junior Sana Rahimi explained that while sometimes the class is challenging, Pissani Medina is very helpful. 

“I like how nice she is; she’s flexible about the time we spend on the tests,” Rahimi said. 

Pissani Medina emphasized that talking with students makes the job worthwhile, and she enjoys finding ways to help them grow.

“I love seeing their faces smiling when they’re trying to understand or respond back to me in Spanish. Interactions with them are the rich moments of each day, like when we are reading aloud or singing,” Pissani Medina said. 

She also tries to incorporate her own Peruvian culture into lessons whenever possible.

“My culture has influenced my teaching a lot,” Pissani Medina said. “I share things about my country like the food, the flag, or important locations like Machu Picchu. And I always encourage them to visit Peru or other Spanish-speaking countries if they can.” 

Above all, Pissani Medina highlighted how much she loves her job and seeing student growth from the beginning of the year to April or May.

“I like that I can inspire them to keep moving; even if they fail a test, I can push them to do better, and they can overcome. Students have different strengths, like writing or presenting, so the best part is there’s always a way to ask them to shine in my class,” Pissani Medina said.

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About the Contributor
Samantha Crowther
Samantha Crowther, Highlander Editor
Samantha Crowther is a junior at Carlmont in her second year of journalism. She enjoys interacting with her community and is excited to start editing for the magazine this year. In her free time, she likes reading, writing, and spending time outside, and is a member of the Carlmont cross country and track teams. To view her portfolio, click here. Twitter: @SamCrowther25

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