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By Victoria Wright

Spanish teacher Siri Campbell

New teacher in Spanish department comes back to teach full time

Where did you go to college?

I went to a small liberal arts college in Minnesota called Gustavus Adolphus College.  

How long have you been teaching?

I started teaching in 1997. I taught from 1997 from 2005, and then stayed home with [my children]. I was working as a para for Horizon [Elementary] and subbing. I long term subbed for [former Spanish teacher Niti] Kamath a few years.

What other subjects were you interested in teaching?

When I was studying to become a teacher, I loved the field of education and learning how to teach kids best. Obviously I liked Spanish. I liked social studies and history, particularly the Civil War era.

How long have you been speaking Spanish?

I took four years in high school, and four years in college.

What other languages do you speak?

I dabble in German and Italian, little bits and pieces, but only because it’s easy to pick up other languages once you’ve learned one. But I don’t know very much; I can just horse around with it.

What made you want to become a Spanish teacher?

I loved my Spanish teacher in high school. She was awesome, a student advocate and super fun. I knew I always wanted to be a teacher, but [high school is] where I thought that I would be most interested in teaching Spanish. Now that I look back, I would’ve loved teaching music or history, but I love education itself.

What made you want to teach at the high school level?

I love all ages. I would love to teach elementary kids Spanish, but there’s something really fun about high schoolers. Lots of times people will be like “Oh my gosh you teach high school? You’re crazy!” But I love the age group because you guys are getting to be adults, you have so much passion when you put it forth into something, and I just love getting to know your interests, going to activities, doing your thing and just growing to be adults.  

What are you most excited for this school year?

I’m just excited to be a part of the Mill Valley community. I live in the community and have three kids who are going to school here, so I just love getting to know the families. Since I’m not from Kansas originally, it’s fun to get to know a whole new community and school district. I’m excited for athletic events and activities, and to just get back into the action.  

What are you most nervous about this school year?

I am most nervous about trying to keep kids interested in learning Spanish with the heavy influence of technology. That’s changed so much since I was teaching. When I last stopped teaching kids had cell phones, but they weren’t smart phones and they didn’t dork around with them in class. Texting wasn’t really happening, but now it’s a whole different ball game. I love that the world is heading that direction, so now it’s about figuring out how to keep the reins on it, utilize it, because it’s important to you guys for learning, and the rest of your world is going to be based off of that. It’s exciting, but it’s scary.  

What experience do you have studying abroad?

I studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, and that was a semester I spent in college. I knew to really learn a language you need to immerse yourself, and it’s best to just go and live there. I lived with a family and it was fun to get to know the kids. You take classes like you normally would for college, but they’re all in Spanish.

What do you want your students to know about your class?

They are welcome here, safe here, I’m always available and approachable. I care about them as people first, and obviously I want them to learn Spanish and do well in the class.

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