We asked certain teachers: What made you want to learn (and teach) a foreign language?

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Tumisu

Junhyuk Jang and Mrugaya Bhandarkar

PEN

World Language Teachers

Here at MMS, we have a very diverse community. All the students and teachers come from completely different backgrounds. We asked two of MMS’s language teachers about how they came to teach their language. We asked them questions, like:

 

  • Where are you from originally?
  • What is your native language?
  • When did you learn the language you teach?
  • Why did you learn this language?
  • How long did it take to speak it fluently?
  • What were the challenges to learn the language?
  • What other languages can you speak?
  • Since not all students will retain a memory of another language, what do you want students to remember from you?

We asked Madame Nelson and Señora Ward. Here were their responses:

Señora Ward:

“I’m from the Philippines.”

“My parents are Chinese so I speak Chinese. The Philippines speak English and a language called Tagalog.”

“I learned Spanish 1 in high school and continued up to Spanish 4.”

“It took 8 years to speak Spanish fluently. I was a turning point when I went abroad to Spain and that is when I put grammar and everything together.”

“There weren’t really any challenges for me because I loved learning the language but if there was one was when I wanted to say something to someone in Spanish but found gaps in my skills.”

“Even though they [students] won’t necessarily remember the language, I want them to remember to have fun.”

We received similar responses from Madame Nelson too.

“I’m from Queens, New York”

“My first language is English”

“I started talking French in middle school”

“I found French fascinating because how it sounded. I also learned Spanish at the same time. I like French more because I always wanted to go to France.”

“I started to speak it fluently after the immersion program where they make you take an oath and you cannot speak English for the rest of the summer and when I went to college in France.”

“I didn’t have anyone at home to speak French so it was hard to have conversations. During French class in school, my teacher didn’t really give us a chance to speak in class so it was hard to get to speak it fluently.”

“I speak Spanish, Hebrew, and I took in college Japanese but it is currently rusty.”

“An advice I give to a student speaking any language is to make it tangible, for example having a picture or an actual action that describe the word or sentence.”