If Emily Bower didn’t work in education, the Laurel Springs School Spanish teacher admits she would have followed her passion for organization by becoming an event planner. The Philadelphia native and current resident of Phoenix enjoys formulating strategies in order to coordinate groups of people, and she takes tremendous pride joy in seeing plans executed successfully. Ms. Bower dedicates this spirit to her job as a teacher, working diligently to maintain effective communication with students in order to successfully prepare them for the challenge of learning a world language.
What’s your background in education?
I have an undergraduate degree in Spanish, and I earned my master’s degree in education in 2013. I then spent four years teaching high school Spanish and student government in a traditional high school.
What excited you about the thought of teaching with Laurel Springs? How does it differ from teaching in a traditional setting and what are some of its benefits?
One of the great things about working with Laurel Springs is that I have the ability to work non-traditional hours so I can stay home with my daughter, but still teach full time. I really enjoy investing in students and helping them achieve their goals. With an online school, I have found that I am able to spend more individual time with students, as I have more time in the day to devote to students when it’s convenient for them.
As a Spanish teacher, what are the common challenges students face when learning a world language and how do you help them overcome these challenges?
Whether in a traditional classroom or in an online course, some students struggle with the overwhelming task of learning an entirely new language and without being able to communicate everything they want to say at first. However, I find that when students are able to practice speaking in a variety of situations, they can slowly build what they can say and learn what they want to say. The more students practice the language, regardless of how uncomfortable it can be at first, the better they can perform and the more confident they will be. Immersing themselves in the language and culture is the best way to do that when it comes to speaking with native speakers (e.g.: listening to music, watching television in Spanish, etc.)
What advice do you give parents who are new to this type of learning environment?
Be an active participant in your student’s education. Know that we are both working to support your student’s success in their courses. As teachers, we are here as a resource for you and your student, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
Describe your favorite lesson or activity that you teach?
I love teaching students about Spanish artists. It is so fun to see how these artists impacted one another and the world through their art. Each artist is so different, and learning about them really gives students an opportunity to see a variety of styles of art and learn what styles of art speak to them.
What is the most rewarding part about being a teacher?
Knowing a student connects with the language and the course content when they thought it was outside of their grasp.
If you could give a student three pieces of advice on how to succeed in school or life, what would they be?
1 – Be organized
2 – Always be willing to learn
3 – Be a good communicator
What’s the best piece of teaching advice you’ve received?
The time students spend in my course is just a small fraction of their day. My responsibility as a teacher is not only to teach the content of my courses, but to work with students individually to that develop a real comprehension of the material and will succeed academically.
What one lesson would you like your students to remember about your course?
Learning a new language is a great way to learn about other cultures and contributes to students becoming true global citizens by opening brand new worlds of communication, music, travel, and culture.
What hobbies or activities do you participate in?
I spend the majority of my time with my husband, daughter, and two dogs. When I am not spending time with them, I enjoy reading, needlepoint, and hiking in the beautiful Arizona desert.
What are your words to live by?
Always assume the best in others.