How does the APH teaching philosophy look in your classroom?
I love teaching Spanish and I try to bring as much of my culture into the classroom as possible. My students love to listen to Spanish music, learn about cultural differences and traditions, collaborate on projects and have fun while learning a new language. I believe that a good education shapes not only minds but hearts as well. Learning a different language and its country’s traditions helps to make students more culturally appreciative and they carry that respect into their daily and future lives. My biggest joy is to see that self-confidence build and put into practice when we role-play skits in class, or when a student tells me that they were able to use what we learned in class and talked to somebody in Spanish! I strive to create a comfortable, caring classroom and I understand that every student has different strengths and weaknesses in their learning process. Therefore, I am committed to differentiated instruction with a variety of opportunities for my students to achieve their goals.
What excites you about The Academy at Penguin Hall?
What really drew me to APH is the caring, supportive and welcoming faculty and staff. Moreover, I enjoy teaching in an all-girl environment and helping create a culture of nurture and encouragement. It feels great to be part of a team that understands how girls learn, continues to develop its vision and places the utmost importance on the discovery and development of a girl’s individual potential.
Share something interesting about yourself.
I was given the incredible opportunity to study and travel with the Hispanic author, Julia Alvarez. As part of a group of twelve students, we traveled to her home in the Dominican Republic, where she and her husband still own a coffee plantation in the mountains of Jarabacoa. She was a role model and daily inspiration as she told us of her struggles of coming to the U.S. and being thrown in an American classroom, knowing very little English, but through hard work became the prominent writer that she is today. As her students, we integrated all parts of our experience, from farming with the campesinos, sleeping in their homes, dancing on their patios, harvesting and cooking food for our lunches, to climbing the tallest mountain in the Caribbean. The constant, warm smile on Julia’s face and the passion with which she spoke of this little spot high up in the mountains of the D.R., helped to inspire our own creative stories about our time there. It is memorable experiences like these that I enjoy sharing with my own students!
Rosa Maria received her BA in Spanish with a minor in Studio Art from Middlebury College. During that time, she spent a semester abroad in Spain. She also travels to Puerto Rico every winter to visit her mother’s family.