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Abby

Hello! I’m originally from Medford, Massachusetts and currently reside in Boston. I attended the University of Virginia where I graduated with a BA in Spanish and an MA in Teaching in Foreign Language Education. From there, I taught high school English in a small town in northern Chile for a year. I then received a Fulbright Scholarship to San Juan, Argentina, where I continued to teach English at the University of San Juan for one year. After a year back in the States teaching Spanish in the Boston area, I relocated to Madrid with my now-husband where I again taught English to fifth and sixth grade Spanish students. We then spent two years teaching at a high school in Wuxi, China, where we found our cat, who has made a happy adjustment living back home in the US. 

After two years of teaching Spanish in the public school system in Plymouth, MA, I moved to my current position at Meridian Academy, a small, project-based, independent school that services grades 6-12 in Jamaica Plain, MA. I currently live a block away from school with our cat and dog, and my husband, who also teaches at Meridian. In my capacity as a teacher at a small school, in addition to teaching Spanish, my roles include advising the eighth graders, being the faculty leader to the Entertainment Committee, and supervising students one-on-one as they do year-long research projects in eleventh grade. An unexpected perk of working at such a small school is that I am also able to take ukulele classes with the middle schoolers, which I began this year!

A moment that has significantly influenced my teaching philosophy was living in Tocopilla, Chile, where for the first time I realized the power of true immersion. Although I had majored in Spanish and had traveled and lived abroad in Spanish-speaking countries before, Chile was the first time that I was surrounded by people who spoke little to no English. I realized that, up until then, I could always use English as a crutch, code-switching when asking for clarification or to describe a particular moment, for example. When speaking with my host family and other members of the community in Tocopilla, however, English was not an option; I had to rely on my Spanish one hundred percent. Although this adjustment was rocky, I became a stronger and more confident Spanish speaker and thinker. This exposure defined for me how I think about language education. I believe that using the language in context in order to solve problems and ask questions that are relevant and meaningful to the learner is the most effective way to acquire a language. Thus, I am excited to further develop my skills as a project-based language teacher during the summer institute, where I hope to work with like-minded colleagues and plan projects that will push my students closer to the experience of true immersion.