Irvine Valley College Spanish instructor Mercedes Julian, pictured with IVC president and vice president Glenn Roquemore and Craig Justice after receiving her award. (Courtesy of Irvine Valley College)
Spanish instructor Mercedes Julian was honored as Irvine Valley College’s Part-Time Teacher of the Year last month, a feat that can plausibly be attributed to her passion for teaching.
“My family instilled in me the joy of learning and the value of education,” Julian said. “I always liked school and was inspired early on by some outstanding teachers.”
Julian got her start in the education field at age 20, and has since taught at San Diego State University and University of California Irvine prior coming to IVC in 1984. Of part-time teaching, Julian says it has been challenging but rewarding. Upon finishing her graduate studies at UCI, she realized that local, full-time teaching positions were scarce. This lead her to full time employment with the County of Orange and a part-time teaching position at IVC.
“Juggling two separate and demanding professions, while meant to be a temporary fix, became my new normal,” Julian said. “It has been challenging but undoubtedly the skills and expertise honed outside the classroom have enhanced my abilities in the classroom, and vice-versa.”
Julian has taught Spanish 1, 2, 10, and 11 at IVC, but has a particular affinity for the latter two, Intermediate and Advanced Conversation.
“Fostering a fun learning environment, facilitating open and meaningful communication, and increasing awareness of different aspects of the Spanish speaking world for IVC’s students and adult learners has been extremely rewarding,” Julian said.
Outside of teaching, Julian enjoys foreign films, chocolate, and riding about town on her pink, vintage Vespa.