Spanish teacher James Fetterman makes sure his classes are interactive to best involve students in Spanish culture


Photo by Nico DePalma

Spanish teacher James Fetterman works on his computer during lunch on Dec. 12.

In his Spanish level two, four and five classes, teacher James Fetterman demonstrates to students the importance of world languages and being able to communicate with individuals from other countries.

Students must take a certain number of language credits to graduate from high school. Of the languages available, a vast majority of students enroll in Spanish. Although students take the class to learn the language, they also get a chance to appreciate other cultures.

After taking a language course in school, students should be able to communicate with individuals who speak that same language. “I think it is important for students to be able to communicate in and appreciate other languages and cultures. It is a way to open your eyes to other ways of living and lifestyles,” Fetterman said.

While learning a new language is helpful and important in students’ future lives, it can be a difficult class to teach. “I try to make the class as interactive as possible. So that it includes engaging activities and making sure that the activities that we do are authentic and based in the real world, so that the resources that we use in class are like real-life scenarios,” Fetterman said.

Fetterman uses activities that have proven to be effective to make his class more enjoyable. “I enjoy his class a lot as his lessons are very engaging. This helps me learn the material and fully be able to understand aspects of the language,” junior Sasha Sampaio said.

Students may wonder what inspired their teachers to teach. “I went into teaching because I have a second and third-grade teacher who really inspired me and helped me to reach my full potential and success in school and personal life,” Fetterman said. “I think it is important to be that inspiration and to be that person who encourages and challenges you to be your best. I wanted to help students as that teacher has helped me.”

Different aspects of being a teacher make it enjoyable for each one. For Fetterman, it is having the opportunity to connect with students and see the growth in their language proficiency throughout the school year.

Being able to connect with a teacher is important. When teachers are friendly and interactive, students are able to create bonds with them. An unkind teacher can mean difficulty creating positive educational relationships. “Mr. Fetterman is very easy to talk to, making his class much more enjoyable. Instead of just working for a grade, I am able to fully experience Spanish culture,” junior Allie Museles said.