Growing Up in Europe Led Sandor to Spanish Career



Karen Sandor almost went into history instead, but her love of European culture while growing up drew her into teaching Spanish at Nonnewaug.

Scott Meyer, Reporter

WOODBURY — Karen Sandor is a world language teacher at Nonnewaug, but she wasn’t first considering becoming a Spanish teacher.

“When I was at the University of Central Florida, I was a history major,” Sandor said. “I talked to the dean, and he said, ‘You can become a teacher or continue to become a historian — or consider teaching a world language,’ and that piqued my interest.” 

Sandor’s career with Spanish began, and now she has been teaching for 22 years. Her love for cultures and language came from living in Europe.

“It was a very wonderful experience. I’m grateful that my father’s job let us live in Europe for many years,” Sandor said. “Every country had its own identity, so I learned to pursue a lot of cultures. My love of languages came from that. You just take in all of the differences. I’ve been to Spain, France, Italy.”

Google Translate is a challenge for many world language teachers. A lot of kids use it to cheat on their homework or tests. Sandor does not encourage her students to use it. 

“I like Google Translate. It does help people, but I do not encourage it,” she said. “It doesn’t always help correctly because what were learning in class doesn’t always translate like that. I don’t encourage my students to use it; I encourage my students to use what they’re learning in class.” 

Sandor also has kids, Liam and Gavin, who attend Nonnewaug. There are not a lot of teachers whose kids attend the same school where they teach. There could be benefits at times for the parents, but some discomfort as well for the kids. 

“It can be uncomfortable at times for them, but the benefits of being at the same school with my children is that I can easily go see their games or activities right after school,” the teacher said. “I have the same days off as them for the most part.”

Gavin said he likes going to the same school where his mom works. 

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Gavin said. “It’s also very helpful, especially when it comes to Spanish so I know what to expect. A lot a people say it’s weird, but I think it’s really cool.”