Naima Wallace, Spanish Teacher July 29, 2020 By wpengine I frequently chat with seniors about my own experience at Howard University and studying Spanish abroad in Seville, Spain. I thoroughly encourage them to research the colleges they want to attend and I am deeply invested in their future and want them to pursue their passions and be successful. What was your journey to your current position? I graduated from Howard University in the Spring 2003 with a major in Spanish and a minor in secondary education. I come from a long family history of impactful educators and administrators, so I’ve always wanted to be a teacher from a very young age. I started my teaching career at James Madison Middle School in Prince George’s County and then at Shaw Middle School at Garnett Patterson in Washington, DC. This is my sixth year working here at Friendship Collegiate Academy. Could you talk about what you do at Friendship Collegiate? I wear several hats here at Friendship! I am one of two Spanish teachers, teaching levels 1 and 2. Additionally, I am the lead teacher at the Academy of Science and Technology. As senior class sponsor, I work hard to ensure that our scholars enjoy their final year, work hard, and fulfill all of their graduation requirements. There are so many parent meetings and events to attend, along with parent conferences, prom, cookouts, graduation, and so much more! I frequently chat with seniors about my own experience at Howard University and studying Spanish abroad in Seville, Spain. I thoroughly encourage them to research the colleges they want to attend and I am deeply invested in their future and want them to pursue their passions and be successful. My favorite senior event is the Cap and Gown Ceremony. Students receive three pins to offer the most instrumental people in their lives – teachers, coaches, parents. As an educator, it is deeply meaningful to receive pins and the heartfelt thank you’s during the ceremony. Oftentimes, we even receive pins from the students we least expect to give them. Graduation is such a joyous time! Excitement is through the roof! As a teacher, leader, and sponsor, it is my job to ensure that all loose ends have been tied and to, of course, remind students that this is just the beginning: “We’re going to AND through college!” Once they have earned their high school diploma, they must stay focused on college and the world that awaits them! Practicing the core values that Friendship has instilled will lead our young adults anywhere they want to go in life. What do you like most about Friendship Collegiate Academy?At Friendship Collegiate Academy, one is able to grow beyond their role. I started as a teacher and was recognized as being consistent and impactful. I was encouraged to make a broader impact to my school community in leadership capacities aligned with my skills and interests. I passionately believe that all students should have a strong support system – within the classroom and also outside of it. We can show our support as educators by attending our students’ extracurricular activities such as dance, theater productions, or sporting events, just to name a few. It is so crucial to support scholars in everything positive that they do. As educators, we are there to uplift them when they are struggling and we are here to cheer for them when they are soaring. I ask them about their interests, encourage them to be a leader in their community, and give back to those who are less fortunate. With hard work and dedication, I firmly believe that all students will succeed. What do you like most about teaching Spanish? My students have just completed research on the contributions of Afro-Latinos during the month of February! It excites me to see scholars so intrigued by their findings. There is so much to learn about the 21 Spanish-speaking countries, including one on the continent of Africa (Equatorial Guinea). It is critical to expose scholars to new things, people, and opportunities in this world around them! I encourage them to speak Spanish with native speakers. This is a wonderful way to foster an appreciation for diversity and respect of different cultures, holidays, and traditions.