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Split Spanish

November 13, 2017

Kathryn+Siefken+sits+teaching+the+Spanish+4+side+of+her+4th+block+class
Kathryn Siefken sits teaching the Spanish 4 side of her 4th block class

Kathryn Siefken sits teaching the Spanish 4 side of her 4th block class

Brooke Talmage

Brooke Talmage

Kathryn Siefken sits teaching the Spanish 4 side of her 4th block class

This year, Louisburg High School has combined Spanish 3 and Spanish 4 classes. The purpose of this change was to open up more slots for students to take these classes instead of locking them into a single block, while still offering upper level Spanish. However, by doing so, administration has put two different level classes together. Two levels that should be learning different things.

Kathryn Siefken, better known to her students as Profe, has managed the Spanish classes very well. She has created a curriculum that allows her to manage both class levels at the same time, but the situation is still not ideal.

“Managing and making sure I spend adequate time with each section and doing it well and making meaningful activities for everybody when I can’t be with them when I have to be with the other class has been difficult,” Siefken said.

Having the opportunity to take upper level Spanish classes is a privilege and having them combined is better than not having them at all, which was the alternative, but students are getting the short end of the stick when they don’t get as much instruction time as they might be able to if their classes were separated.

“Unfortunately, it probably has affected people’s learning. Even though I do everything I can to make it not, there are still things that students could probably do better if I were able to sit with [them] and guide them along,” Siefken said.

I understand that the alternative to combining the Spanish classes was to get rid of them completely, but that still doesn’t make the situation ideal or even beneficial. As a student in Spanish 3, it’s been very difficult for me to learn in the same ways I did in lower level Spanish classes because I’m often hearing Spanish 4 learning things I’ve never heard of or trying to do work without having the help of my teacher at my disposal. It’s frustrating as a student and it’s frustrating for Siefken.

“I’m trying so hard to come up with different ways and I’m just as frustrated as [the students] are because I want it to be perfect, and I know it’s not, though that’s something I’m really working on because I know you deserve the best and I really want that for my students,” Siefken said.

Even though the situation isn’t ideal and isn’t what I had in mind going into Spanish 3, I still enjoy learning the language. I don’t agree with the setup, I don’t believe it’s beneficial to students, and I think there are better ways the classes could have been set up to help the students. The numbers could have been smaller, the classes could have been open in more slots, or the classes could have been separate all together, but I know all of those things come with their own difficulties. Despite the drastic differences in class structure, I still enjoy Spanish, but I also wish it were different.

“Even though the situation isn’t ideal, I still love my job and I’m still really enjoying it, and I’m still really glad that I get to be [their] teacher,” Siefken said.

 

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