November 18, 2022
Adriana Noya, right, assistant lecturer in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at UW, receives the Teacher of the Year award from Wyoming Language Teachers Association President Hope McKay during from a recent ceremony in Casper. (Photo by Tracy Kirven)
A University of Wyoming adjunct lecturer recently received the prestigious Teacher of the Year award from the Wyoming Association of Language Teachers (WALT).
Adriana Noya, from UW’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages, received the award at the WALT 2022 conference in Casper last month. WALT is a professional organization dedicated to supporting world language teachers and promoting the language and cultural proficiency of K-16 learners in Wyoming. The award is given to any Wyoming teacher with five years of experience, with peer or student nominations.
Noya teaches Spanish at UW and has taught at the university since 2017. This award marks Noya’s second recognition by WALT; she also received the New Teacher of the Year award in 2017.
Noya says her passion for languages led her to teach, something she had long imagined herself doing.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. When I lived in Madrid, Spain, I thought about teaching English to Spanish speakers, and life had other plans. Now I teach Spanish to English speakers,” says Noya. “I have always loved languages, so content is a huge factor. I also had wonderful teachers who grew up and impacted me positively, inspiring me to become a teacher myself.
The positive impact that Noya’s teachers had on his own life not only helped inspire his career choice, but also continues to inspire his teaching style and theory. She strives to be a positive, energetic and approachable teacher.
“It motivates me to make sure my students are having fun. Students should be relaxed while learning; foreign languages are difficult to learn and can make a lot of people anxious. I try to help that by being approachable and friendly,” says Noya. “It’s OK to make mistakes; everyone will make mistakes. I just try to make sure they have 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 more focused on making sure she continues to be a positive figure for her students than recognition.
“It’s interesting, isn’t it? It combines pride and the feeling of having done a great job,” she adds. “There are so many great teachers out there, and to receive something like this is humbling.”