La Relación: Beyond The Classroom With Karen Baio
Michaela Sardinas '19

Whether it’s working one-on-one or with a small group, Señora Baio encourages and helps students. Señora Baio individually-customizes different teaching methods to help students master Spanish.

Señora Baio individually-customizes different teaching methods to help students master Spanish.

Matemáticas, Inglés, historia, ciencia, and the list goes on of required courses. But it doesn’t stop there. There’s something different — set apart from basic math and English.

Español. A class taught by Señora Baio. 

With Guatemalan roots, she brings her own experiences of the Hispanic culture inside and outside of the classroom to connect with students. “I bring those experiences in the classroom as firsthand knowledge,” she says. 

She’s taught everything from Spanish 1 to AP Spanish, and whether it’s working one-on-one or with a small group, she encourages and helps students. “Every level gets harder and more complex,” Señora Baio explains. 

She understands that not every student learns the same way. So she individually-customizes different methods for each student to address different learning styles. “Every time that I meet with students, it’s going to be a different approach,” she says. “Some methods include online flashcards, videos, reviewing with students during lunch — anything to change the routine that doesn’t suit them.”

Advanced students are invited to Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, a club which Señora Baio started two years ago. “Spanish Honor Society allows students to get recognized for their hard work in keeping with a second language,” Señora Baio says. Colleges recognize this club from across the nation.

The club has grown over the years. From catering an authentic meal for International Foods Day to selling bracelets for the Pulsera Project that benefits organizations in Central America, students have an opportunity to learn more about the Spanish language and culture. 

By working with Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica officers, Señora Baio has exchanged numbers and emails to communicate outside of school with these students. “That opens the door to prayer and a deeper relationship,” Señora Baio says. 

Señora also makes sure students receive an education outside of the classroom by going on field trips with AP students. She hopes their confidence will grow by speaking the language. “I want them to get as much exposure to the Spanish language,” Señora says. 

The students go to Casa Central in Humboldt Park, a Puerto Rican community where students talk with residents. Students then visit Spanish murals in the neighborhood and eat at a local Puerto Rican restaurant. “They take away something from the day,” Señora says.

Students are not only able to use their Spanish skills outside of the classroom locally, but they have the opportunity to use their skills internationally on Renew trips. Trips to Honduras and the Dominican Republic immerses students in the language. “It’s a real sense of accomplishment to use their Spanish skills outside of the classroom,” Señora gushes.

Alumni continue to reach out to Señora Baio for conversational practice and interviews. “I’m more than happy to help them with that,” Señora explains. These quick conversations help boost their confidence for preparation to use Spanish in the real-world.

From Spanish 1 to alumni, Señora Baio continues to help all students develop skills in the language. A great support system, she is always there to guide students in a language that allows them to build relationships with others.