Virginia Talley

Virginia Talley ’97, Ph.D. US Spanish Instructor

Joined St. Stephen’s in 2012
I loved my experience as a student at St. Stephen’s and always thought it would be a dream come true to teach here. I was elated when I had the opportunity to join the faculty. I have met so many students and colleagues with unique perspectives, largely due to our diverse community. I feel like I learn something new every single day, which keeps my job interesting and challenging. The opportunity to continue learning is a great part of my job.
I enjoy teaching a range of levels and subject areas, from introductory Spanish, to upper-level classes in grammar, conversation and literature. Teaching Spanish 1 in a fully immersive environment can be just as challenging and enjoyable as teaching an extremely difficult novel.
For me, the best classroom experience is when students begin to think for themselves, rather than simply regurgitating the material. When students start making those deeper connections, it is a great confidence booster for them and a joy for me. Some of my favorite memories have been those moments when students catch my jokes in Spanish — or even make their own jokes in Spanish.
A great experience for students is teaching them how to read complicated novels, poetry and short stories in Spanish. When I tell my Spanish 5 students that we will be reading a novel that I read during my doctoral program, they can hardly believe it and are terrified. Little by little, they realize that not only can they understand the novel, but they can have very high-level conversations about the deeper themes. That gives students a great sense of accomplishment. I love it when my students bring up ideas that I have never thought of, particularly when I am teaching a novel, poem or story that I have read many times.
Ultimately, I hope that my students learn the value of speaking up for their ideas and beliefs, even when they are uncertain of whether or not it is the “correct” answer. I want them to create their own paths and be brave during their journey of learning. I also hope that St. Stephen’s students learn to fight for equality and justice.
Address: 6500 St. Stephen's Dr., Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 327-1213