Another week, another amazing educator, this time all the way from Spain! (WOW!) Leticia is another person I haven't had the pleasure meeting in person to or even speaking to, but I can already tell she is a woman I would love to work with. When she sent her response, she said 'I hope my answers can be understood easily. Please let me know if I need to clarify anything, as I am not an English native speaker.' I smiled as I read this and was blown away when I read about her journey. For some reason her energy reminds me of Ms. Frizzle (positive, adventurous, and loving!) ...can you feel it? Read more about Leticia and be sure to connect with this international educator! Thank you SO much, Leticia, for sharing your journey with us all!
Tell us who you are! How long have you been working in the education field? What school district are you in?
My name is Leticia and I am an English language teacher. I am from a little region from the north of Spain, called Navarra. I teach in a primary state school in a small town called Estella, here in Spain. I have been working in this field for four years and taught from little kids to adults. I have also been working in private English schools and small and big companies, where I taught business English.
What subject/ grade do you teach?
I am currently teaching 11 year old students. This is 6th Grade of Primary Education. In my school there are two educational programmes. One is taught in Basque language (traditional in my region) and the other one is called PAI, that is, a bilingual programme taught in English and Castilian Spanish. I teach in the bilingual programme. That is, 50% of the subjects taught in English and 50% in Spanish. The subjects taught in English and the ones that I teach are English language, Natural and Social Science, Maths and Arts.
Who was your favourite teacher when you were a student? What made them stand out from the rest?
To be honest, I don't think I had a favourite teacher. I just feel the relationship student-teacher, teacher-student needs to be based on respect and admiration. When a student feels that you are special, that means that you are standing out from the rest.
What was learning like growing up for you? Easy, challenging?
My learning process is still being challenging. We never stop learning. But if I think of my secondary education years, it was really difficult for me learning Chemistry, Physics... Those subjects were for me hard to understand. I believe that whatever we have to acquire, we need to think of the positive things that those subjects can teach us during and after the learning process.
Who or what inspired you to become an educator?
I have always wanted to be and to study something related to the English language. I think this was because I have always been good at languages. Thinking of why I decided to become an educator is harder. I don't know when, and I don't really remember what exactly inspired me. I would say that I have always liked to help, to teach, to inspire, to motivate, and I think this is one of the professions that better reflects this.
Describe what your dream classroom would look like.
I don't think there is a dream classroom. And at the same time, I feel every classroom is a dream classroom. It's up to you and how you feel with your students and the relationship that you get with them, the one that makes your classroom a dream classroom like. I would define it as the classroom where teachers and students are happy with whatever is being done/studied, and where everybody can grow up learning together.
What gets you pumped up before entering the classroom? (ex. music, car dance party, coffee?)
Ha-Ha! Good one! I love coffee in the mornings! I also listen to music in the radio, so it could be both! But, I believe a good lesson plan is a great reason to feel pleased. When I have worked hard preparing my classes, I feel “my students are going to love it”. Then, I just smile and start my teaching.
What makes you a great educator? (Come on, toot your horn!)
I am convinced that I am still in the process of becoming a great educator. I think that I am a very passionate teacher who wants students to feel delighted while attending my classes. I also consider that I am quite a young teacher and I was a student just some years ago. This means that I can understand better how my students might feel while learning English.
If your students could describe you, what would they say?
I had to talk to them to answer this question! I didn't know it! They told me that I am different and special. One of the boys told me that I am serious and funny. He said that I am serious when I need to be serious and funny when the class allows this. And I really liked their answers to be honest! :) Although I didn't think that I was that serious!
What was your best teaching moment?
One of my best teaching moments took place last year. We were talking in class about what you would say to your future self in 9 months’ time. It was really interesting and heart-warming to listen to my students' goals. I have always been a dreamer.
What do you do to enhance your personal learning?
I am always an open-minded teacher and I like to listen to my colleagues and to accept new points of view. Moreover, I never stop doing courses, reading articles... IT online courses are also very important these days. I am currently doing one online course of social networks on education.
How do you balance your personal life from your teaching life?
Ha, ha! Good question! I believe every teacher needs to take a rest but it is difficult during the week to manage this. We need to prepare many classes, correct assignments... however, when Friday comes, I feel more relaxed and I leave my teaching work at school. It is very important for me to keep a balance. I am always thinking of how to plan an activity or how to give an explanation.
Do you do enough to maintain your personal well-being?
I try! Well, I would say that I try mostly at the weekends. During the week, it's more difficult but I always try to have a rest in the evenings. It's always necessary for our minds and happiness. I like going out to have a walk or having a chat with friends.
What do you love most about teaching?
My favourite part of teaching is when I listen to my students explaining what they have learned. I always ask them the question: what have you learned today? It's very good fun to listen to them and to see if what you wanted to achieve, it's fulfilled.
If you could talk to your younger self (ex. elementary student, high school student, post-secondary) what would you say?
I would tell my younger that it's necessary to dream big in life. And all your dreams will become true one day. Don't care about those who make you feel unimportant. Care for your family because they will always be there for you. Study hard and always do your best because every effort will bring you a reward.
There may be teachers reading this who are in need of a reminder why they’re great educators. What would you say to help lift their spirits?
Have you stopped thinking of who you are, and why you became an educator? I know you are doing your best! Look at your students, they are all waiting for you and your lessons. And this is because you teach with your heart. You are a great helper to open your students’ life doors.
Jam Gamble - Connector of People, Ideas and Energy