Balás describes her journey to the classroom

Spanish teacher enjoys connecting with her students


Pictured with her family in her home city of Buenos Aires, Balás loves to spread her love for her country and native language. Photo courtesy of Gabriela Balás.

By Kate Gabrielson

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Spanish teacher Gabriela Balás moved to the Bay Area after college, and underwent a career change in the process. Currently in her first year teaching Spanish at HHS, Balás said she has loved the transition thus far.

“I love learning, so I could really teach anything I feel [I am] an expert in,” Balás said. “I think Spanish is a very rich language with a … rich culture, and I would like to share my love for my country, for my culture and for my language.”

Previously, she did research in various scientific fields, but landed on teaching Spanish after several years to pursue a different passion.

“I think [it’s] interesting that this is my second career in life, and that I’ve done something that is really, really different than teaching,” Balás said. “I [also] grew up in a different country and went to university there. I think it’s unique that this is not my first career.”

After growing up in a culture that values masculinity, Balás has been inspired to advocate for equity and equal treatment inside and outside the classroom.

“I’m passionate about equality and equal access for everyone [to be able to reach] whatever they want to reach in life,” Balás said. “I don’t think there should be limitations based on funds or ethnicity. I’m very strong about that: equal access in our society.”

With the first semester coming to a close, Balás spoke highly of her experience at the school so far, and said she has especially loved meeting so many new students and teachers.

“I’m happy at Homestead,” Balás said. “I really appreciate how respectful and responsible the students are; I am very impressed with that.”

In her time spent teaching, Balás said she has learned that a good teacher has a passion for their subject, and is able to connect well with their students.

“[I want my students to know] that I really care about them and I really care about their learning, because the learning they do now will open opportunities later in life,” Balás said.