Name: Christy Peeples
School:Flathead High School
Language(s) Taught: Spanish and ESL
Years of Experience: 20+
Education:University of Montana, B.A., M.A. in Spanish, ESL Certification, K-12 Spanish Education.
What is the most rewarding part of your career as a language teacher?
I love when students come back to visit and traveled and/or lived in Spanish speaking countries and put my language skills to shame! I had a former student come discuss his multiple years living in Chile with my current students. He was explaining different uses of the language, teaching us all new words and spoke more fluently than I. Knowing I had a hand in that makes my heart burst with joy! Even when they have just gotten the travel bug (and not necessarily the language) and have been to parts of the world they would never have seen because I encouraged that, that’s amazing!
What is one personal or professional goal that you have for yourself, your school or your department?
I would really love to move my department and myself towards a more Comprehensible Input style classroom. I feel like this is the wave of the future and a way to bring more students into acquiring real language skills versus knowing how to conjugate a verb. I hope that I NEVER stop finding new ways to learn and new ways to teach. It keeps the job fresh, exciting and never boring!
What is one of your favorite travel experiences?
About 10 years ago I went with my father to Mongolia for a couple of weeks for the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar and to visit my cousin who lived there for many years. It was a mind-blowing experience. The lives of the people are just so incredibly different from what I have ever experienced before while traveling. Europe just doesn’t prepare you for Mongolia. The Naadam Festival celebrated the Three Manly Tasks (Horse racing, Bow shooting, and Wrestling) and thousands of nomadic people came in from the countryside to participate. Yurts, yaks and fermented mare’s milk, oh my! Amazing. But bring your own food. Not a lot of fresh veg in Mongolia.
Do you have any advice for other world language teachers?
Teaching grammar and speaking and all that nitty gritty stuff is great and important, but telling the students about your adventures grabs their imagination and puts the idea of travel in their heads from a young age. Tell them how easy it really is to go wherever they want to go. Tell them to explore the world. That’s the hook! Make it fun!