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Name: Elvis Sanchez

Age: 38

Current town/city of residence: Racine

Connection to Racine County: Wife, Isabel Sanchez, teaches bilingual special education at Johnson Elementary School.

Occupation: Teacher

Title of book and publisher: “Salsa Dancing in Gym Shoes: Exploring Cross-Cultural Missteps with Latinos in the Classroom.” My essay entitled “English or Español? The choice es mío” is located in Chapter 5. Editors/publishers: Tammy Oberg De La Garza and Alyson L. Lavigne.

Synopsis of book (plot): Consider how you would typically greet a friend or a relative. Perhaps you would shake hands or even hug. But this might not be the norm in another culture. For example, in the Latino culture, it’s common to greet loved ones with an embrace and a kiss on the cheek, and anything less may be taken as an affront.

If something as simple as “hello” can create a culture gap, how can teachers navigate a multicultural classroom? “Salsa Dancing in Gym Shoes” takes a close look at the cultural missteps increasingly preventing Latinos from succeeding in education and offers steps that teachers can take to reverse this harmful pattern.

The book includes current research and theories on Latinos and education as well as its personal essays presenting both historical and current experiences of racism and marginalization. By the final pages, educators will have new real world strategies for creating a positive and effective classroom for students of any background.

This resource for teachers explores cultural missteps that hinder the academic achievement of Latinos and provides solutions to close a widening gap. Eighty-six percent of classroom teachers are white, middle-class females, unfamiliar with the Latino experience and culturally unprepared to engage students and their families. Two professors who traverse both cultures on a daily basis, use essays written by Latino authors to uncover past missteps, and explore culturally responsive ways of engaging Latino students in learning.

Is this your first essay in a book? Yes.

Why did you write the essay? “English or Español? The choice es mío” is one of six essays that provide classroom teachers an opportunity to step into the shoes of a Latino student. The current research and theories on Latinos and real-world classroom applications will equip educators with new practical strategies for creating a positive and effective classroom for students of any background.

How long did it take you to write essay? It took a few weeks to research and write the essay while I was in graduate school.

How did you get interested in writing? Writing is a creative form of expression, a conveyor of ideas, with limitless possibilities of enlightenment.

Where is the book available for purchase? Available at Amazon

Is the book available at the library? Not currently.

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If you are a Racine County author and would like to be featured in Our Authors, please send request to Loreen Mohr via email at; send letter to Loreen Mohr, The Journal Times, 212 Fourth St., Racine, WI 53403; or via fax at 262-631-1780.


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