HOBART | Hola, ¿Cómo estás? ¿Vienes preparado? Vamos a repasar los verbos en el pasado con el iPad. 

Translated, that means, "Hello, how are you? Are you coming prepared to the class? We are going to review the past tense verbs with the iPad."

It's time to get to work with Spanish teacher Salvatore Muffoletto in his Hobart High School class.

Muffoletto speaks to his Spanish IV and Spanish V students mostly in Spanish throughout the class period. He has established a rapport with students with his easygoing style and high standards.

He spices up the class with Spanish music from popular entertainers like Enrique Iglesias, and he may sing a song or two himself to help students with the language. He does things that involve literature, writing, speaking and presentation.

"I grew  up in a bilingual household," Muffoletto said. "My father came from Italy so we spoke Italian and English at home. I started taking Spanish in seventh grade and it was really, really easy for me."

He spent a summer studying in Spain before his senior year at River Forest High School, and he fell in love with the language and people.

"I wanted to share what I learned with other people," he said.

Muffoletto majored in Spanish at Indiana University and did his student teaching at Valparaiso High School. He returned to Spain in 2005 before graduating from IU Bloomington in 2010; he's been at Hobart High School since that time.

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In the Spanish V class, Muffoletto said he had a student who qualified to study abroad through the Indiana University Honors program, and she spent the summer in Spain.

"She came back with a wealth of knowledge," Muffoletto said.

Muffoletto also teaches a class called "Junior Gifted and Talented." In that course, students have discussions about things like religion and diversity, racism, ethics and morals, as well as doing a lot of reading and research. 

Muffoletto is also the National Honor Society sponsor, Social Studies Academic Team coach and Spanish club sponsor.

Hobart High School senior Andrew Giorgi, 17, said he learned Spanish at home from his grandparents but said he can "speak it" better than he writes it.

"At home, we speak some slang. It's not all perfect grammar," Giorgi said. "I've learned the correct grammar and the correct verbs at school. Speaking it is way easier than writing it."

He called Muffoletto his "favorite teacher."

"He conducts class with a lot of speaking and writing activities. The way you learn the language is by speaking it in repetition, and that's exactly what Mr. Muffoletto does. He goes over it, and we speak it over and over again."

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Southlake County Reporter

Carmen is an award-winning journalist who has worked at The Times newspaper for 20 years. Before that she also had stints at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., The Post-Tribune and The News Dispatch in Michigan City.