AP Spanish Teacher Sra. Mitchell Partnering With Teacher in New York

Veronika Valia

“What we made is exactly what we were looking for,” says Sra. Mitchell with a smile.

For students taking AP Spanish Language and Culture this year with Señora Mitchell you’re in luck because she, along with a teacher in New York, Señora Pilar de Garcia, have designed a curriculum to help you learn the same material in a new, creative way that will likely lead to higher test scores! 

As many of you may know, Sra. Mitchell teaches Spanish I, 3 and AP Language and Culture, and is known for her creative, fun teaching style and exemplary AP exam scores. In New York, Sra. Pilar de Garcia has a similar course load, teaching Spanish 2, 3 and AP, as well as a college advantage program where she helps students reach their post secondary school goals. She is also a reader for the dreaded AP exams! 

Both teachers are from Colombia, from the same town coincidentally, and are so excited to be building a virtual bridge between their classes, through a unique approach and curriculum to help all of us expand the scope of our Spanish studies.

As they explained to me over a Google Meet (social distancing!), the whole premise of what they are doing is creating a new curriculum to help their AP Language and Culture students learn the material necessary for the AP exam but in a creative way. 

As a result, they decided to create their own lessons together. “She [Sra. Mitchell] puts in her part and I put my part,” says Sra. Pilar de Garcia. “She puts her creativity and adds it to my creativity. Her talents add onto my talents.” She wants to prove how “when you work as a team you can get a lot done to help others, and in this case help the education of both our schools.”

Sra. Mitchell agrees, saying that during the pandemic, they turned a situation filled with isolation and boredom into something productive. Not only have they designed the lessons together, but they have also organized them into segments, some revolving around conversation in the language, and some dealing with cultural comparisons  (all elements on the AP exam). 

And they did everything together! On the Google Meet, their enthusiasm was clear. “What we made is exactly what we were looking for,” says Sra. Mitchell with a smile.

When asked if they would ever want to ever expand this curriculum to other schools, Sra. Pilar de Garcia jumps in eagerly saying they would love to, why not, right? She says it would be a dream of theirs.

Now, students of Sra. Mitchell might be wondering how and when this new program will be implemented. In response to that, Sra. Mitchell explains how her classes have already started using this curriculum to guide them through Unit 1 and Sra. Pilar de Garcia’s school will start utilizing the curriculum in September (as that’s when their school starts.)

Since they have designed the units together, they are hoping the curriculum taught here and in New York will overlap at some point, and then Sra Mitchell’s students and Sra. Pilar de Garcia’s students can collaborate! They see this as a definite possibility.

“They [student’s from Sra. Pilar de Garcia’s school] don’t know you in person like you know each other, but they can see how other students are doing topics similar to them and will realize that they can discuss and work together,” says Sra Pilar de Garcia. “We want to prove that during this pandemic we can work from far away, virtually, but we can get the same accomplishments.” 

When asked about their end goal, Sra. Pilar de Garcia explains how their goal is for their students to do a project together that they have already designed. “I want my students to present to her students and have an opportunity for peer feedback.” She says that their main goal is to step out of the picture, and allow the students to come in and play a more active role in the classroom. 

In addition to that, through their curriculum, the two want to spread awareness of things going on in the Spanish speaking and outside world and help students see the bigger picture and be able to apply what they’ve learned.

She even hopes that in the future she can get a group of her students and Sra. Mitchell’s  students and go to South America where they can put that textbook idea of being a “global citizen” to work! She is excited for the prospect of that and if I’m being honest so am I. Sign me up!

The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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