This summer, I had the privilege of trading places with my students for a month. Well, not literally. Between DWS awarding me a professional development grant and winning a scholarship through the National Spanish Exam, I was able to reinvigorate my passion for learning by studying in San Jose at the University of Costa Rica.
My experience was AMAZING: hiking to waterfalls, relaxing on beautiful beaches, and seeing wildlife in its element. On the weekends, that is. On weekdays, I spent five hours a day in the classroom studying Spanish linguistics, phonetics, and dialectology all while immersed in a new culture. To say the experience was overwhelming would be an understatement.
Reverting to student life made me think about my students and begin to see construction of class time in new ways. As I began to take on this new perspective, I realized just how amazing (and harried) our students are. Some tackle seven academic classes during the school day, participate in sports and extra-curricular activities, then go home and study more! My learning experience WAS a learning experience. I realized my trip was about more than just Latino studies. It was about rejuvenating myself as a teacher, putting myself in the shoes of my students, and gaining even more appreciation for the opportunity to work in a student-centered school.
Jessica Marshall, Spanish Teacher