In this week’s Quake Take blog, we sit down with Shanye Crawford, our vibrant Spanish teacher, to learn more about her journey to becoming an educator and her unique approach to teaching Spanish.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, Shanye? What inspired you to become a Spanish teacher, and how did you find your way to The Friends School of Atlanta?
Ever since I was in elementary school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Each afternoon, right after school, I used to invite my friends over to give them a lesson in my basement. When I began to study Spanish as a 7th grader, it was honestly love at first listen. That was when I understood the content I would attempt to master and then give back to the world, would in fact be Spanish! In addition to loving and teaching languages, I also play competitive ultimate frisbee. A long-time friend and teammate of mine, Anraya Palmer, is how I ended up here at FSA!
What is your educational philosophy, especially in the context of teaching Spanish to students of varying age groups from Prek3 to 8th grade?
I have found education to be one of the greatest levelers of systemic inequity. Best wielded collectively as a team of students, families, and teachers, it can simultaneously enable individual mobility and incite societal change.
With respect to teaching ES language, I believe the ultimate goal is communication. In addition to exploring new phonetic systems and lexicons, I will also strive to instill confidence in all of my learners. I believe these skills will begin to set us on a trajectory of building and becoming lifelong communities.
How do you approach language education, and what do you believe are the key elements in fostering a love for learning in your students?
I approach language education in the same way I encountered it- with lightness and energy! I believe the key elements in fostering love for learning are taking the lead to be a learner myself, and celebrating all of their- big and small- individual and shared learning experiences.
Teaching is a demanding profession. What inspires you to come to the classroom every day, and how do you keep that passion alive in your teaching?
I love children! To me, they are the world’s greatest treasure. To be able to grow alongside them is both a great responsibility and a satisfying reward. Every day I try to be the very model that I ask them to embody!
Spanish is a unique subject that opens doors to culture and communication. Why do you feel it's important for students to learn Spanish, and what specific benefits do you see in teaching it from an early age?
Having begun to learn Spanish as a young person, my concept of humanity never had a chance to shrink. That is to say, for as long as I can remember, I was always curious about other cultures and languages. I longed to know more about the world, not so much because people were different from me, but because despite our distinct cultures, we were really all the same! I wish the same human broadness to all of my students!
Are there any particular teaching strategies, methods, or projects you're excited to implement in the expanded classroom?
Having licensed a new online learning platform, Rockalingua, I am excited to use much more music to usher my students into the wonderful world of language acquisition.
Can you share some highlights from this school year, especially in terms of the Spanish program? Any projects, events, or student achievements that stand out to you?
There is an abundance of Spanish speakers here at FSA. This semester I will pilot a MS apprenticeship, wherein a native Spanish-speaking MS student will help me teach the littles! I am excited not only to have a student mentee, but also to potentially afford native Spanish speakers a much more meaningful language experience here at FSA!