His name is Santos Tuz, and he is studying to be an elementary school teacher in the Yucatan.
YUCATAN Mexico (Times Media Mexico) – When Santos Tuz created his account at TikTok, he didn’t imagine he would have thousands of followers interested in learning the Mayan language. “I always wanted to show people how proud I feel about my roots,” explains Santos Tuz, proudly taking advantage of the Tik Tok platform to teach the Mayan language.
The young Yucatecan, a passionate teacher and third-semester student in primary education, is originally from Oxkutzcab, one of Yucatan’s 106 municipalities.
“I had the application for months when the quarantine began, but I didn’t open it, I decided to see what kind of videos there were, and I was surprised to see a person who taught English and another who taught another language of the country where he lived, and that encouraged me to teach the language that is spoken where I live,” Tuz said in an interview.
The videos that made him take off in TikTok were a presentation in Mayan about who he was, his place of origin, and the greetings in Mayan, after that moment he began to have more than 60 thousand views and 10 thousand I like from viewers from various parts of the world. Since then, he has used the social network to teach the language that his grandmother taught him.
“It’s Yucatecan Maya. I spent my whole childhood in my grandmother’s house, where they only speak Maya, and since I was 6 or 7 years old I got used to it because my grandmother asked me for things in Maya”, he remembers.
Tuz says he has always wanted to be a teacher. After the viralization of his educational content, he has congratulated his teachers and principal, which has motivated him.
The school Santos attends is half an hour away from his home, and with the quarantine and the suspension of classes, he has devoted himself to growing fruit and getting inspiration to create more content in his networks.
“The plot is a land where many fruits are grown, I am in Oxkutzcab, the land of oranges, where the Orange Fair is held, we grow all kinds of fruits, and I use them as teaching materials because I want people to have a meaningful learning.”
Currently, the 18-year-old’s TikTok account has over 39,000 followers and has videos to learn prepositions, greetings, names of fruits and numbers, among others.
“Criticism and Discrimination”
Santos says he initially experienced moments of criticism and discrimination against him after a Yucatan website shared his videos.
“People asked me why I was teaching Mayan, that I should teach English, that Mayan was useless, that people from the Yucatan did not even understand Spanish, and that made me feel very bad. They discriminated against me for teaching Mayan, and later I realized that people began to support me,” he says.
Over time, the young man saw that there was more support than criticism, which revived him and reaffirmed his pride in speaking Mayan and encouraging other young people to lose their fear of speaking the Mayan language.
“I know many young people who know how to speak Mayan, but they feel sorry for it, it’s like they have a monster outside, they talk to their family but when it comes time to go out they don’t have the motivation to say a word, or they are afraid of being made fun of or discriminated against,” he explains.