Aprenden y enseñan (They learn and they teach)

Jackson Hardin and Sarah Wolfenden instruct a fifth grade class on how to say certain vegetables in Spanish. Once a month, Spanish IV students trek to the elementary buildings to teach the classes given to them.

Olivia Couch, Co-Editor

For 10 years, Spanish teacher Teri Messerer has allowed Spanish IV students to travel to David City and Bellwood Elementary to teach lessons themselves. Beginning just after Christmas break, the group of upperclassmen visit the elementary classrooms monthly.

“I have fond memories of a high school Spanish class coming to my classroom when I was an elementary student​, and then teaching the kindergartners when I was in high school,” Messerer said as to why she began the experience.

Before the small, assigned groups began teaching, they had to first develop a lesson plan. Each grade was given a topic to learn, whether it was body parts, animals, colors, or even emotions. The goal of each lesson is to make it memorable for the kids learning this new language.

“I love getting to teach kids Spanish for many reasons. The first is that I think it is important to teach children the importance of culture and how important diversity is in our schools,” senior Bethany Tebbe said. “In our school, we have many individuals that are bilingual and learning their first language is, in my opinion, respectful towards them.”

Actually going out and teaching is often new to the high school students, and many admit to feeling nervous during their first lesson. However, the majority of Spanish IV students also say they continue to have a positive experience with the kids.

“My favorite thing about it is when my group and I started teaching the kids some action words and later seeing the kids learning and speaking Spanish,” senior Luis Lopez said.

Junior Douglas Alvarado piggy-backed off of that saying, “Just seeing all the kids so happy when we come in the door and so ready to learn is the best.”

With a positive experience from both the students and the newly found “teachers,” it is safe to say that this tradition will continue for years to come. When asked what they, the Spanish IV students, would change about the experience, a majority simply replied with the desire to teach them more.

“​I really enjoy seeing my students as teachers. Some ​are very good at it and obviously enjoy working with the elementary students. For some high schoolers, teaching the elementary brings out a completely different side of them that I don’t see every day in the classroom,” Messerer said. “I also enjoy listening to the high schoolers’ conversations after their lessons as they celebrate successful activities and comment on things that caught them by surprise.”