Spanish teacher finds ways to pass time with family


Photo by Trey Behling

Teacher Tammy Petzold works with students during the 2018-2019 school year.

Quinn Soltesz, Audio Editor

The traditional high school Spanish class conjures up memories of fiestas, reading children’s books aloud, and word games. For C. M. Russell Spanish teacher Tammy Petzold, these memories are imbued into her teaching theory.

The challenge in teaching Spanish online is the lack of verbal input my students receive,” Petzold said. “At school, they hear me speak and ask questions the majority of the class period, so they learn through repetition and partial-immersion.”

Her students are familiar with her energetic personality, constantly engaging with her students on literally any topic that comes up in a class period. This personality is the biggest loss from online school. To remedy this, Petzold has set up Google Meet sessions, allowing for 30-minute discussions — fully in Spanish. 

“It has been wonderful to see my students’ faces and hear their voices, and hopefully they have found the sessions helpful and productive as well,” she said. 

Petzold has also worked to adjust to life at home, helping two elementary age daughters learn at home as well. 

“My kids are young and require a lot of support with their learning, so I have to work in intervals so I can teach my kids as well,” she said. 

As many families are all home, this new reality requires careful planning. “It took us a couple of weeks to figure out a schedule that works for all of us, and we ended up scheduling my girls’ schoolwork primarily in the morning, starting at 8 a.m., and they try to work straight through so they are done well before lunchtime,” Petzold said. 

Scheduling has allowed for a smoother home life for Petzold, creating more time away from work and with family. 

“We bake together, do puzzles, spend time on Zoom with extended family, and play Just Dance,” she said.

In addition to these activities, the family recently adopted a puppy. A welcome (and tiring) distraction, Petzold said the new family member “requires constant attention.”

While the transition to at-home work and school was difficult, the energy and dedication that Petzold presented every day at CMR has served her outlook well. 

“[I] have found the extra time together extremely fulfilling and always find the day passes quickly and enjoyably.​”