New Spanish teacher brings love of culture to class


Beautiful day of the dead celebration comes to life! Ms. Gómez celebrates beautiful day of the dead celebration in her father’s hometown. She went to Jocotepec, Jalisco on October 30,2020 with her mom and two other sisters and spent time with her family.

April Sepulveda, Staff Reporter

A year ago, Ms. Zahari Gomez was at home with no thought of ever stepping into a high school classroom again. She was a full time nanny to a sweet little girl. She was teaching the girl Spanish and about her culture. But today, she is in a slightly different atmosphere. Though she is still teaching, she is now teaching high school students. Zahari Gómez didn’t see herself teaching at a high school but when she heard about the opportunity she decided it would be great. This would be the start to a new chapter of her life.  

 Ms. Zahari Gómez is a new Spanish teacher at Bishop Noll this year. This is not her first year teaching, as she has taught before in the past in school in Mexico. But when she was made aware about the teaching position at Bishop Noll through BNI principal Mrs.Pastrick, she saw an opportunity and decided to take it.

“I actually never planned on teaching growing up because I wanted to be a Chicago detective my whole life,”  Gómez says. “I even took criminal justice courses but teaching is newer for me and I really enjoy it.”

Gómez started teaching 4 years ago when she lived in Jocotepec, Jalisco Mexico. With many of her family members in education in Mexico, her love for teaching started.

“My mom and her sister were teachers and so were my great aunts on my dad’s side of the family,” she said.

Her family was a big part of her passion for the language and the culture. As they had also influenced her to a newer passion for teaching. 

“My family really influenced me to start teaching. My mom and aunt really loved it and were passionate about teaching and I think that has influenced me,” she said.“I really love the Latino culture and teaching Spanish to people that are interested in the language and culture really makes me happy.”

Gómez explained how she is very close to her culture and language as Spanish had been her first language and primary language.

“I was born to two Mexican parents in Chicago. I am a first generation Mexican American. I grew up speaking only Spanish at home and didn’t start speaking English until I went to school,” she said. “In our house, my parents didn’t speak English so Spanish is my primary and most used language. I love my culture and feel truly blessed to have been born into this amazing culture.” 

Although her family had influenced her to teach, they were also very surprised to find out that she had decided to teach. 

“Honestly, I think they were shocked that I have the patience for teaching. The one thing I hate is grading homework,” she said.

This experience hasn’t changed Gómez much. She is happy to be teaching, as she enjoys every day of it. 

“I really like teaching and it makes me happy when I see that my students are retaining what I teach. I like knowing I’m not just talking to a wall,” she said. “I really have enjoyed every day, my second hour drives me a little crazy but my days would be boring without all of them.”

Gómez recalls her favorite memories when she went to her father’s hometown Jocotepec, Jalisco in January. There, they would celebrate a huge 3-week celebration for the town’s patron saint El Señor del Monte. It was a daily celebration that included parades led by priests with float boats, people dressed as biblical characters, fireworks, indigenous dancers, dancing horses, marching band, musical band. They also had concerts, food/street vendors, and jaripeos. It was also a time where Gomez would spend time with family and make memories.

“These memories have kept my heart close to my culture and really shaped how I see the world today. It makes me proud to be Mexican and it makes me a proud Latina,” she said.