What is the most rewarding part of your career as a language teacher?
I really love it when a student starts the semester with an "I can't" attitude, but ends with a confident "I can!" I figure, if I can turn the "I can't" into "I can" in Spanish class, then that might apply to other areas of the students' lives. My hope is they start to figure out that they can do so many things!
What is one personal or professional goal that you have for yourself, your school or your department?
Our school is the only high school in Billings that doesn't offer AP classes for world languages. I would like to see that change so Skyview can offer the same opportunities to our students as the other schools. I also want to grow the Seal of Biliteracy Program at Skyview. The first year (2022) was a practice year with only 6 students taking the Stamp 4s exam. All 6 received the Global Seal of Biliteracy (because Montana didn't have one yet!). In 2023 we had 12 students take the test, but only 3 were Seniors. All 3 Seniors received the Montana Seal of Biliteracy. This year we are hoping to double again and have 24 students take the test. Our plan is to award the Global Seal to Juniors and the Montana Seal to Seniors.
What is one of your favorite travel experiences?
In 2019 I took a group of students to Spain. The trip started with all of them being unsure of themselves. They stayed very close to me and looked to me for everything. But, by the end of the trip, they were navigating all on their own and leaving me behind! It was great to see so much growth in such a short amount of time. Also, several of them wrote very nice thank you notes to me that I have kept!
Do you have any advice for other world language teachers?
Be fearless, but with a sense of humor! Try new activities, new projects, and new methods. Not every lesson is going to be a home run. Changing your lessons keeps things interesting for you and therefore interesting to your students. Be willing to try and fail in front of your students. They will learn so much by your example of getting up, laughing at your mistakes, and trying again.