Class Notes

Language teacher honoured at the White House

Fabiana Parker (Modern Foreign Languages with Education, 2001)

Alumna Fabiana Parker (Modern Foreign Languages with Education, 2001) is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, translator and winner of the 2023 Virginia Teacher of the Year award. With Portuguese as her mother tongue, Fabiana has first-hand experience in learning and mastering English as a second language. In this feature, we explore how she combined her linguistic talents with her passion for education, and how King’s has helped her pursue a fulfilling career path that led her all the way to the White House.

An early encounter with education

Fabiana first discovered an interest in education as a child, when she took on the task of teaching her grandmother to read. These early teaching experiences sparked in Fabiana a love of language and literacy, which she would later develop during her time at King’s.

Life lessons at King’s

In 2001, Fabiana began her undergraduate degree in Modern Foreign Languages with Education. During her time on our campus, she crossed paths with a diverse range of students and academics from all across the world.

Fabiana credits King’s with helping her develop her exceptional skills and experiences as an ESL teacher, explaining that the education ‘served as a catalyst, equipping me with the tools to excel as a capable and influential instructor’.

American adventures

After graduating, Fabiana moved to the USA to study for an MA in Education, Curriculum and Instruction at Boise State University, Idaho. She has since received degrees from various international universities, including the University of Granada, Phoenix University and the University of Virginia.

Now based in the bustling town of Manassas, Virginia, Fabiana is dedicated to improving and promoting adult literacy across Northern Virginia. In 2015, she was awarded a Congressional Record in recognition of her outstanding work.

Since then, Fabiana’s career has only gone from strength to strength. In September 2022, she was named Virginia’s Teacher of the Year. To celebrate this remarkable achievement, she was invited to a ceremony at the White House, where she was congratulated by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.

Transcending borders through teaching

When describing her approach to teaching, Fabiana (or Mrs Parker to her students) tells us: ‘My classroom is a testament to my belief that education transcends borders and brings people together. I like to draw from my personal experiences and create a space where cultural diversity is celebrated, and bridges of trust, respect and understanding are built across various backgrounds.’

Fabiana has certainly come a long way since those childhood reading lessons with her grandmother. She has already accomplished so much in her career as an ESL teacher, and we look forward to seeing what lies ahead for her – both inside and outside the classroom.