The Cardinal Column

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The Cardinal Column

The Cardinal Column

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Becoming A Spanish Teacher


Jennifer McDonald, a Spanish teacher at Gainesville High school, participated JMU’s exchange program at Salamanca, one of the world’s four oldest universities. It is the school that Christopher Columbus and Cervantes attended. 

 “You’re going to class and going to class and seeing all these maps, these historical documents. It’s just fascinating.” Mrs. McDonald said.  

 In Spain, they have a different, more relaxed life. They even take a legally allotted rest in the middle of the day. Classes start at 9:00 AM and go on until 12:00 PM. Then, you go home, eat lunch, rest, go back at 3:00 PM, and go to classes until 5:00 PM, and then you go back home and eat dinner.  

 Mrs. McDonald also loved JMU, its’ campus, and its’ community.  

 “I loved JMU because it has a big campus, but at the same time it has a smaller community.”  Mrs. McDonald said.  

 Mrs. McDonald’s family all went to Penn State University. Mrs. McDonald’s dad played on the soccer team and the family had season tickets. Mrs. McDonald wanted a smaller campus, a class of twenty-five kids, and for her teachers to know her name and to know her as a person.  

Mrs. McDonald also talked about how choosing her profession was not an easy decision. 

 “So, my dad is in business, and my entire family are either doctors or teachers. My dad’s kind of the exception.” Mrs. McDonald said. 

Mrs. McDonald declared as an international business major with a minor in Spanish. Mrs. McDonald had already taken five years of Spanish and loved it, but when she got to her advanced statistics class, Mrs. McDonald decided that she hated her major and wanted a change.  

 “I called my mom, and I think she was about to kill me, but I changed my major in the first week of school.” Mrs. McDonald said.  

 Mrs. McDonald changed her major to foreign languages, and she thought about taking Italian and French, but she decided to continue with Spanish. However, Mrs. Mcdonald’s father was not happy. Her father asked Mrs. McDonald what she wanted to do, and she said that she could be a teacher and could always have a job and provide for her future family that way.  

However, Mrs. McDonald ended up using her language skills more than anyone would have guessed.  

 “I had been in JMU’s alternative breaks program, which met in the Wilson building on the Quad. One spring break we worked on the border as interpreters for the border police. We  also worked at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.” Mrs. McDonald said.  

 Mrs. Mcdonald goes on to say that she got to use her Spanish a lot and that she landed where she was supposed to be.

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Erynn Alvernaz
Erynn Alvernaz, Journalist
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