For our first edition of the spring semester, The Settler visited with Tonya Daniels, who is an assistant professor of Spanish at Volunteer State Community College.
Daniels has been teaching for seven years, including four years at Vol State and three at the high school level.
She double-majored at the University of Tennessee, earning bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and human services, and then received a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Georgia. In May, she will complete a doctorate in leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.
“I fell in love with Spanish in high school after having marvelous teachers and traveling to Spain with one of my teachers after my freshman year. I love everything about the Spanish culture: the music, language, dance, people and countries. I wanted to share this passion with others,” she said.
Daniels feels that everyone has the ability to learn.
“It is just a matter of respecting one another and of how you (the teacher) reach a student. I also believe the teacher should always be willing to learn themselves (there is always something new to learn).
“When it comes to Spanish, I like to think that I create an open learning environment where students are free to make mistakes. Mistakes and corrections are what language learning is all about!”
Amadeus Nunaley feels that she succeeds at her task.
“I really enjoyed being in her Spanish 1 class, and felt that she really helped me get a grasp on the language. I’m very excited to have her again this semester and look forward to seeing what I learn,” he said.
Fellow Spanish instructor Michelle Vandiver-Lawrence called Daniels professional and kind.
“Tonya made every effort to accommodate my crazy schedule when my children were born. I’m happy to work with such a hard-working and easy going colleague,” Vandiver said.
Daniels is also co-advisor of the Vol State International Student Association (VISA).
“We have so many wonderful international and American students sharing culture with one another. It’s always a fun experience being with the students and staff in the club!”
She is also a part of FUTURO, which is a Latino student’s association that brings together students, educators and professionals from across the state of Tennessee.
When she’s not in the classroom, Daniels said that she loves to dance and to work out. She does Zumba and Turbo Fire, both of which are dance-based exercise programs. She also runs and does boot camp-style exercises.
Daniels also enjoys watching college football and is a big fan of the UT Volunteers.
“I have a wonderful husband and a sweet German shepherd named Legacy. We enjoy hanging out with each other very much!”she said.
Daniels can be reached at 615-230-3340 or in her office at Ramer 105.