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Teaching with Novels

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Meet Sra. Wienhold

I actually became a teacher


What is a teaching accomplishment no one knows about?
- Actually becoming a Spanish teacher

I did not grow up wanting to be a teacher. I did not spend my free time as a child playing "school." 

I was a "deciding" major at the University of Northern Iowa for my first year there. I took a Spanish class there, knowing I at least wanted to minor in it, and then decided to make it my major. The only logical companion to a Spanish degree, was a teaching one, so that is what I did. 

Towards the end of my undergrad in Spanish-Teaching at UNI, I was pretty set on NOT becoming a teacher anymore. My methods of teaching a foreign language professor, while having a doctorate, had a whole 1 year of teaching experience outside of the university. Let's just say I dreaded the class and learned more in one session of #langchat. 

The head of the Camp Adventure Child & Youth Services program (which is headquartered at UNI & I participate din all throughout college), but the bug in my ear early in my undergrad about wanting me to have an assistantship with the program and get my M.A. in Leisure, Youth & Human Services. So, I decided that would be the route I would take after my undergrad. 

I was *this close* to not even student teaching and getting my teaching license. Luckily someone convinced me that if I ever wanted to teach in the future, it would be a lot easier to go back and renew a license, as opposed to trying to student teach. So I trudged through my 16 week student teaching, with a teacher who lived and breathed the textbook. Lesson plans were vocab, vocab quiz, grammar, grammar quiz, book chapter test, repeat. I tried to infuse some life and fun activities, but this was before the era of Pinterest and Twitter, and I had not yet found the amazing bloggers who have shaped who I am today. I literally counted down the days to it being done. It did not help that I was living back home in Illinois with my parents while by boyfriend at the time (my now husband) was back in Iowa, where I would make the 3 hour drive pretty much every weekend to hang with him and my college friends. Since I knew I was starting graduate school in the fall and not teaching, I had no desire to plan a classroom, or make lessons for the future. I left my last day thinking I may never teach again. 

Somewhere during my first semester of graduate school, I realized that I missed the classroom and teaching. Second semester I started subbing in the local district a couple days a week when I did not have class, for extra money, and started to yearn to be back in the classroom. Once finished with my degree after a year and a half in December, I started looking for Spanish teaching jobs, where I landed a maternity leave Spanish position that spring, and then a full time position in the fall where I currently teach. 

My first year of teaching was probably one of the hardest of my life (that is until I had a baby!), but also incredibly rewarding. Breaking the textbook habit changed everything and I can now let my creativity shine. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I needed that break from teaching to show me where I was meant to be. 

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