By Megan Ahern
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Professor Rita D. Cotey not only teaches Spanish at Camden County College, but she shares the love of the language to her students as well.
Sydarra Coats, a student in Cotey’s Spanish class at Camden County College, said she would recommend the class to anyone who wants to study Spanish. Coats said, “From this class, I learned not only the Spanish basics like counting and colors, but also conversational Spanish and overall Latin culture.” She went on to say the only thing she would change about the class was the online portion – she understands it is required but feels Cotey and the textbook are sufficient.
Cotey was an exchange student in La Coruña, Spain, attended Rutgers University in Camden, N.J., University of Madrid and University of Barcelona, where she received her bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees. Cotey said she knew she wanted to teach Spanish after she went to Spain during her freshman year of high school. She said she fell in love with the people, culture, food and language.
Before she became a professor at CCC, she was a teacher at Overbrook Senior High School. After 38 years of teaching at Overbrook High School, Cotey retired to spend time with her ill mother, who died a short time after that. She then experienced some health issues herself but overcame them with great help from doctors.
After her mother died, Cotey realized she missed teaching, so she decided to go back to teaching at CCC. This is her third semester at CCC. She said coming back to teach was a great decision and her students made it much easier because she loves the people, teaching and Spanish. She enjoys teaching Spanish so much she hopes to spread the love to other students so they will love it just as much as she does.
During her 38 years of teaching, she has received teacher recognition awards as well as various certificates for professional development in Spain.
Cotey and her husband will mark 30 years of being happily married this November. She met him at a Greek festival and they have been together ever since. They share a dog named Zeus and decided not to have children because her students were like her children.
As for her future, Cotey said, “I hope to continue to teach at CCC, be married for another 30 years, travel around the world and even try voiceovers, commercials and video/audio teaching.”