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Maestro vs Profesor

How do you say “teacher” in Spanish? Let’s learn the difference between maestro and profesor. We’ll also learn some other fun nouns for titles, including rey, presidente, and jefe.

Full Podcast Episode


Vamos a ser maestros de esto.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to keep practicing the verbs Gustar, Importar, and Preocupar, and while we do, we’ll also learn some new nouns that represent a few titles for people, including “king”, “president”, “boss”, and “doctor”.

Let’s start with the two most common words for “teacher”: maestro and profesor. Maestro is spelled m-a-e-s-t-r-o. So for example:

He’s a teacher at the school.

Es un maestro en la escuela.

You can also make this word feminine by replacing the O at the end with A. So for example:

My son wants to tell something to his teacher(f).

Mi hijo quiere decirle algo a su maestra.

The word profesor, meanwhile, is clearly related to the English word “professor”, and it’s spelled exactly the same except with only one S. So for example:

Our professor knows a lot of things about that.

Nuestro profesor sabe muchas cosas sobre eso.

This word also has a feminine version; you just add an A on the end. For example:

Our professor(f) hasn’t told us that yet.

Nuestra profesora no nos ha dicho eso aún.

Now, these titles, maestro and profesor, don’t correspond perfectly with the English words “teacher” and “professor”.

For one thing, in Spanish, most high school teachers are actually referred to as profesores. So the word profesor is much more broadly applicable than the English term “professor”.

And then, also, the word maestro has a second meaning: It can mean “master” in the sense of being a “master of” some skill. For example:

My sister is a master at that.

Mi hermana es una maestra de eso.

For the sake of our quizzing, for now I’ll translate profesor into English as “professor” so that you know which one to predict. Let’s practice these words.

She is a good teacher.

Es una buena maestra.

The professor likes his job.

Al profesor le gusta su trabajo.

He was my teacher that year.

Fue mi maestro ese año.

She is a master at that.

Es una maestra de eso.

The professor(f) would like to talk to the young ones.

A la profesora le gustaría hablar con los jóvenes.

The professors at this school are masters at those things.

Los profesores en esta escuela son maestros de esas cosas.

Our next three words are titles for occupations. The first one is easy: it’s doctor, which has the same spelling and meaning as the English word “doctor”. For example:

Yeah, she had to go to the doctor.

Sí, tuvo que ir al doctor.

The next one is agente, which is spelled like the English word “agent” but with another E at the end. Agente. This word can refer to an agent in pretty much any industry or capacity, just like the English word. For example:

The agent thought for a moment before saying something.

El agente pensó por un momento antes de decir algo.

And then we have the word policía. We already learned this as a feminine noun to refer to the institution; for example “we needed the police”. But this word can also refer to a single police officer as a person. For example:

The police officer told us to go home.

La policía nos dijo que nos fuéramos a casa.

Now both agente and policía can be either masculine or feminine. In the case of policía, it ends with “a” in either case (so we have both la policía and el policía). And similarly for agente, we have la agente and el agente. But to make the word doctor feminine, you’ll add the letter A to the end. So for example, here’s a sentence where they’re all feminine:

The agent(f) talked with the police officer(f) and the doctor(f).

La agente habló con la policía y la doctora.

Let’s practice these.

The police officer(m) is getting old.

El policía está viejo.

The agent(f) used to like me, but not anymore.

Yo le gustaba a la agente, pero ya no.

The police officer(f) went to the doctor yesterday.

La policía fue al doctor ayer.

The doctor(f) would like me, but I don’t do what she says.

Le gustaría a la doctora, pero no hago lo que dice.

The agent has worried about that for a while.

El agente se ha preocupado por eso por un tiempo.

Finally, let’s learn some titles of power. First, we have the general term for “boss” which is jefe or jefa. So for example:

First, my boss(m) has to tell HIS boss(f).

Primero, mi jefe le tiene que decir a SU jefa.

The word for “king” is rey, spelled r-e-y. (So this word IS pronounced with a bend in it, kind of like the word seis, and unlike the words se or esté.) So for example:

I’m king of the world!

¡Soy el rey del mundo!

And then “queen” is reina, spelled r-e-i-n-a. Reina. So for example:

It was while queen Victoria was living.

Fue mientras la reina Victoria vivía.

Notice that both of these titles tend to keep the definite articles, el and la, before them.

Our last title is “president”, which is presidente or presidenta. Make sure to keep the S hard and unvoiced when you pronounce this: presidente, presidenta. For example:

She said it as if she were the president or something.

Lo dijo como si fuera la presidenta o algo.

Let’s practice the words for “boss”, “king”, “queen”, and “president”.

His boss is great.

Su jefe es genial.

I would care about it if I were president.

Me importaría si fuera presidente.

The queen didn’t like what the king did.

A la reina no le gustó lo que hizo el rey.

He is the king, but the president(f) is the boss here.

Él es el rey, pero la presidenta es la jefa aquí.

Their boss is old, but they don’t worry about that.

Su jefe es viejo, pero no se preocupan por eso.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/129. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

The king said this is important.

El rey dijo que esto es importante.

Your boss(f) hasn’t liked your work for a while.

A tu jefa no le ha gustado tu trabajo por un tiempo.

It would be important for the agent if you(plural) were together.

Le importaría al agente si estuvieran juntos.

The police officer(f) had to talk to her boss(m).

La policía tuvo que hablar con su jefe.

I worry about you because I like you.

Me preocupo por ti porque me gustas.

She worries about the dog because it’s a bit crazy.

Le preocupa el perro porque está un poco loco.

The president(f) is a master at these things.

La presidenta es una maestra de estas cosas.

Our professor(f) always liked these.

A nuestra profesora siempre le gustaban estos.

I hope you like this food, he is a master at this.

Espero que te guste esta comida, él es un maestro de esto.

Our teacher (f) cared about our family.

A nuestra maestra le importaba nuestra familia.

You don’t have to worry, but you should go to the doctor.

No tienes que preocuparte, pero deberías ir al doctor.

The police officer liked to get worried about something that didn’t matter.

Al policía le gustaba preocuparse por algo que no importaba.

Don’t worry, I think you’re going to like it.

No te preocupes, creo que te va a gustar.

The most important (thing) is that the agent talks with us.

Lo más importante es que el agente hable con nosotros.

It has to matter to the teacher or he is a bad teacher.

Le tiene que importar al maestro o es un mal maestro.

It will matter to the doctor(f) if the king is unwell.

Le importará a la doctora si el rey está mal.

(Formal) Don’t worry, Mr. President, the queen will be here soon.

No se preocupe, señor presidente, la reina estará aquí pronto.

You worry too much.

Te preocupas mucho.

The most important (thing) is that they don’t get worried.

Lo más importante es que ellos no se preocupen.

My opportunities are important to my parents and to my professors.

Mis oportunidades les importan a mis padres y a mis profesores.

The queen likes young people.

A la reina le gustan los jóvenes.

I don’t think she cares because she likes me.

No creo que le importe porque le gusto.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/129, or tune in tomorrow for a big quiz to practice everything we’ve learned this week.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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