I began studying Spanish in my first year of high school and loved it from the beginning. For me, conjugating verbs was like playing a game, which no one else seemed ot enjoy. I took four years and then went on to major in Spanish at Mundelein College in Chicago. I spent one semester at the University of Madrid in my senior year. I lived with a family from Cuba. before returning home, I traveled throughout Spain. I have the advantage that my sister’s husband is from Spain and his family lives there, and they have always welcomed me. After graduating from college, I taught high school Spanish in several schools, taking time off when my boys were born. I took school groups twice to Mexico and have gone back to Spain several times. I have always felt that going to the country is truly the only way to learn about the culture and history of it and its people. I also enjoyed taking my children there. I received my Bilingual and ESL certificates and taught in those fields, also. I retired from teaching in 2010. My husband and I first came to Sun City West in 2012, and I immediately joined Club Español. I found that I still loved teaching Spanish, but to people who really want to learn it. Teaching has helped me as much as I have helped my students. It is a way for me to maintain my knowledge of the language that I learned to love so long ago.
I was born and raised in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Madrid. I am the fourth of five children all born within a period of six years.
At the tender age of 19 I came to the U.S. on a summer-long visit to Seattle, where my sister and her husband lived. Little did I know that during that fabulous summer I would end up meeting the love of my life, John; we dated for as long as I could continue to renew my tourist/student visa, we then decided to go to Spain to get married and spend our honey moon in my home country
A couple of years after our return to Seattle John and I decided to join the Navy for the next 20 or so years, he as a sailor, me as a sailor’s wife. That’s how our big adventure begun! Together we traveled the world, we’ve lived in Hawaii, followed by San Francisco, San Diego, Spain, Italy, Washington DC, back to Spain, and Turkey. We finally picked Colorado for our final tour of duty, mostly because our two sons wanted to finish high school in the U.S.
We retired in 2010 and came down to Arizona to begin the second phase of our adventure. Because of my lack of teaching experience, I was at first skeptical about joining Club Español as an instructor, but as I got into it, I realized that I had found my “other true love”, teaching Spanish to my SCW friends and neighbors.
In Spanish my name is Elena. I started studying Spanish when I was in college. I have enjoyed Spanish and have studied it a lot. I have traveled in Mexico and Spain. I went to Spain this spring with the Spanish Club. I am from the State of Oregon. My husband and I live in Oregon in the summer and we live here the rest of the year.
I was born in Switzerland and brought up speaking the dialect of Berne. In first grade we learnt to speak and write “good” German and from fifth grade onward we had five French classes per week ending Highschool speaking fluently and writing almost without errors. I originally learnt Spanish when working at the U.N. in New York. After two years of studying the language with a Spanish teacher (from Spain) I passed the language proficiency exam and worked with Spanish documents in addition to English and French. Trips to Mexico, Guatemala and Peru reinforced my knowledge. In 1991, I emigrated to the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) where only Spanish was spoken and spent 18 years on the island of Isabela running a hotel. My Spanish is now a fluent Latin American Spanish with a definite Ecuadorian influence.
Mary Ann Jasken
I am a retired language teacher. I began learning Spanish as age 57. Each winter, I spend time in Mexico living among the people, learning their language and culture and discovering their beautiful villages and cities. Before I retired from teaching, I was a 2nd language teacher of adult refugees and immigrants and a trainer of teachers in language learning methods. I’m excited to bring those experiences to others interested in the Spanish language and culture.
Even before retiring to SCW in the fall of 2013 after 26 years as a Michigan attorney, I knew that I wanted to join the Spanish Club. My introduction to Spanish began at age 20 when I was invited to head a group of fellow college students for a summer social work project in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico near the Guatemalan border. At the time, I didn’t know a word of Spanish and began taking my first courses in Spanish and education in order to obtain a teacher’s certificate. I traveled several times to Mexico and Spain with my students and exposed them to foreign travel. I consider learning a foreign language the gateway to no only meeting people but to bonding with them by learning their culture, customs, music, and history. My goal in teaching Spanish is to share my love of this beautiful language and the people who speak it as their native tongue. My secondary goal is to show that “gringos” can learn much more than merely how to order the next round of margaritas in a Mexican restaurant!
1967: BA in Economics and Russian with a Secondary Education Endorsement, U of Utah
1990-1991: Two year course in Translation, Literature, and History , Universidad Católica de Chile, 1990
1992: MA in Spanish Language and Literature, U of British Columbia
Teaching and Administration Experience:
1981-89: High School Spanish and Mathematics Instructor, Whitehall, Montana
1992-1996: Adult Basic Education and ESL Coordinator for Northeastern Nevada, Elko, Nevada. I taught and administered Workplace Literacy, GED and ESL Programs. Also taught University Spanish.
Between 1989 and now, we have lived over 10 years in Latin America where my husband has worked as a project manager for gold companies. Countries where we have lived include Chile, Venezuela, Honduras, and Argentina. While in Latin America, I worked as a translator for America Economía magazine, and translated environmental mining studies for consultants. I also taught ESL to Hispanics and tutored Spanish part-time for ex-pats.
A family trip to Mexico when I was seven years old began my fascination with Spanish and ultimately led to my becoming a Spanish teacher. During the 21 years I taught high school Spanish in Normal, Illinois, I served as a Foreign Language and ESL Director and enjoyed the traveling with my students to Spain and Mexico and hosting exchange students in our home. In 1989, I changed my focus to spend the next 14 years as the district’s Director of Professional Development. Upon retiring in 2003, I established my “Learning Connections” business and continue to secure contracts for statewide work in educator development. Since purchasing a second home in SCW in 2009, my husband, Steve, and I spend six months in IL and six in AZ. Early in 2017, I decided to retire my business when my current contract with MA expires in December. My very next decision was to reconnect with my love for Spanish – after a 28 year hiatus! Teaching a Spanish class and attending conversation classes will hopefully let me make new friends, share my love of the language, and improve my skills!
I earned my Master’s Degree in Spanish Language and Literature and taught all levels of high school Spanish. I became an Educational Consultant for the Holt, Rinehart and Winston Publishing Company where I helped with the publication of three Spanish textbooks. I traveled extensively throughout the Spanish-speaking world. I chaperoned 12 tours of Spain with some of my students. I also led 9 mission trips to Caborca, Mexico (Prescott’s Sister City). After 33 years of teaching, I retired and moved with my wife, Mildred, to Prescott in 1996. I taught a Spanish conversation class to senior citizens for 18 years. In April 2015 Mildred and I moved ot Sun City West and now we live at Grandview Terrace.
I am so happy to have the opportunity to teach Spanish again! I was born and raised in Venezuela, but I have lived more years in the USA. I am married with 3 grown sons and 5 grandchildren. We are snowbirds from Spokane, WA and love to spend the winters in SCW. I enjoy very much teaching Spanish as a second language and have done that formally throughout my working career. My first experience teaching adults was in Kansas State University where I taught several semesters of Beginning Spanish. Then in Washington DC I worked for a language academy. Later on, I was contracted with the Navy to teach Navy and Civilian personnel who worked in the Navy liaison for the Royal Spanish Navy office. Years later, I taught at a satellite campus of the University of Maryland in Japan. That was a very rewarding experience. I am sure teaching classes for the SCW Club Español will surpass that experience.
Thank you for allowing me to be part of the teaching staff!