|Korean students at DLIFLC say their teacher, YOUNG-A MACHORRO, is the best, with a vivacious personality, passion for teaching, and permanent smile on her face.|
"I love working here," said Machorro, who used to teach English as a foreign language in a Korean high school, where students numbered 40 to a classroom. "It was very challenging to teach in Korea because I could not apply what I had learned at the university about foreign language teaching methodology," said Machorro. "Here we only have six students per class and I can really focus."
Machorro came to the United States in 2005 after she met her current husband, Master Sgt. Hector Machorro, through her English teacher in Korea. "I came to the dinner party so I could speak English, but Hector came to the party to learn Korean! Somehow we made a compromise," she said with a laugh. "We got married."
Today the Machorros are the perfect team. While Young-A teaches, Master Sgt. Machorro is the Chief Military Language Instructor for the Korean school, whose job is to provide senior enlisted leadership and be the military liaison between the students and the units. "I make sure the students are on track with their academic progress, and because I speak Korean, I also teach and can mentor them, having once been in their shoes," he said. The secret formula of the Korean school’s success at DLIFLC is often the quality of the teaching teams - the driving force behind student motivation to learn the language and culture.
"My students won the Korean speech contest when we were only in week eight. Their average GPA is over 3.6," said Machorro with great enthusiasm and pride. "I constantly talk to them about motivation and tell them to think about their career goals. I also teach them learning strategies and everything I have learned in grad school," she said. Machorro is currently attending the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
"I have discovered that American military students are very competitive, and when they have to speak in front of their classmates they will study very hard to save face," revealed Machorro, with a bit of a wicked smile. "So every week, from the beginning of the course, we have a little speech contest. They write the text, we (teachers) edit it, and then they take it home to memorize. Their reward is cookies."