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Published November 18, 2022
A University of Wyoming assistant lecturer recently received the prestigious Teacher of the Year Award from the Wyoming Association of Language Teachers (WALT).
Adriana Noya, in the UW Department of Modern and Classical Languages, received the award at the 2022 WALT Conference in Casper last month. WALT is a professional organization dedicated to supporting world language teachers and promoting linguistic and cultural competence among K-16 learners in Wyoming. The award is given to any teacher in Wyoming with five years of experience, with nominations by peers or students.
Noya teaches Spanish at UW and has been lecturing at the university since 2017. This award marks Noya’s second recognition from WALT; she also received the New Teacher of the Year Award in 2017.
Noya says her passion for languages led her to teaching, something she imagined herself doing for a long time.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. When I was living in Madrid, Spain, I thought I would be teaching English to Spanish speakers, and life had other plans. Now, I teach Spanish to English speakers,” Noya says. “I have just always loved languages, so the content is a driving factor. I also had wonderful teachers growing up who positively impacted me, inspiring me to become a teacher myself.”
The positive impact that Noya’s teachers made in her own life did not just help inspire her career choice, but also continues to be an inspiration in her style and theory of teaching. She strives to be a positive, energetic and approachable teacher.
“It motivates me to make sure my students are having fun. Students must be relaxed while learning; foreign languages are hard to learn and can make many anxious. I try to help that by being approachable and friendly,” Noya says. “It is OK to make mistakes; everyone will make mistakes. I just try to ensure they are having fun while doing it.”
This approach has proven successful for Noya, and her designation as WALT’s top teacher is proof of that. Still, Noya is focused more on ensuring she continues to be a positive figure for her students than the recognition.
“It is interesting, right? It combines pride and the feeling that I have done a great job,” she adds. “There are so many great teachers out there, and receiving something like this is humbling.”