“Señorita M.” has an M.A. in Spanish Linguistics from Middlebury College. This is her 12th year teaching Spanish. Prior to arriving at her current position, she taught Spanish at a private, independent school in Ohio for ten years, and then took a year off to travel the world. She has traveled to at least 13 countries now, including Iceland, China, and Argentina, and spent two summers hiking across northern Spain. She is passionate about writing, languages, online privacy, and minimalism, has seven years of experience in ballroom dance, and enjoys listening to music in languages she does not understand.
“I think back to Plato’s Republic when considering how best to teach. Socrates instructs us, “Therefore, you best of men, don’t use force in training the children in the subjects, but rather play. In that way can you better discern toward what each is naturally directed.” To discover that special place where work and play merge together to create joyful, meaningful – and therefore valuable – learning is to discover a lifetime of self-directed learning.
I believe in multi-sensory and experiential learning, in involving all of the senses on a regular basis and in meaningful contexts.
I want students to not only see and think about the textual appearance of the word, “lemon”, but also to see and touch the thick outside yellow rind of the fruit; squeeze it in their hands and listen as citrus droplets fall into a glass; pucker their cheeks when they taste the uniquely sour flavor; smell the dirt as they plant lemon seeds; and begin to understand the tremendous complexity of a single word.
I believe in the power of play, that kids should be allowed to be kids for as long as possible.
I believe in wonder, joy, and curiosity.
I believe in creativity and thinking creatively, especially when there are boundaries and constraints or limitations in place.
In the classroom, I do not instruct students to simply “be creative”. I give them a problem, provide limited materials, and ask them to come up with a solution within those constraints.
I believe in hard work. I encourage developing the strength and perseverance that comes from working through challenges.
I believe in risk-taking and in the inevitability of failure. Learning how to fail is one of life’s greatest lessons.
I believe in teaching students to be self-directed and lifelong learners.
I believe that language is a beautiful canvas and mosaic with countless layers of meaning; but without context, it becomes a pile of randomly grouped Scrabble letters.
I believe that we can do anything we set our minds to.
Be smart. Be strong. Be kind.
Work hard. Have fun.