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Underlying Connections

Wendi Springer

Wendi Springer ’02, Co-founder / Teacher Communicate School of English, Málaga, Spain

Major: Spanish with teaching certificate

What I love most about my work: The most gratifying part of my job is seeing my students learn and improve their language skills month to month, and year to year. However, what I love the most is hearing their success stories of how they put the language to use in real life situations and seeing how proud they are when they realize first hand that language opens doors for them. 

Major challenges: Time and technology. I always find myself wishing for more time with the students. With technology, I do my best to be on top of new applications and electronic resources and incorporate them into the curriculum to enrich the learning experience.    

How a Dickinson education prepared me: To see the underlying connections between seemingly disconnected ideas, work collaboratively with others to reach a common goal and appreciate how enriching linguistic and cultural knowledge can be on both personal and professional levels.   

Why I chose Dickinson: The small student/professor ratio, the strong reputation for study abroad programs and the Teachers for Tomorrow program.

My favorite professor: Without a doubt, my favorite and most influential was Grace Jarvis. If our paths hadn’t crossed during my first year in Spanish 116, I never would have come to Málaga for a summer course, participated in the full-year program or returned after graduation to call this city home. 

My favorite organization at Dickinson: I really enjoyed Teachers for Tomorrow. My class was one of the fledgling classes and the program was still in the formation process, but I enjoyed the company of my fellow members and the supervising professors. We hosted and/or attended a number of events related to teaching, and the ensuing conversations were insightful and interesting.

My favorite spot on campus: Morgan Field.  I lived in Morgan my first year and grew fond of the field. I spent many an afternoon there throughout my four years at Dickinson.

What I’m most proud of at Dickinson: My student-teaching final portfolio presentation at the end of my last semester at Dickinson. It was the culmination of four years of work that brought together my different fields of study and interest. I spent a lot of time preparing it, and it was also one of the first times I was able to incorporate technology and teaching.   

What I’m proud of today: I’m really pleased with the success and reputation of my academy, which is growing steadily from year to year. It’s a place where students learn to embrace language as a communication tool and where they are free to express themselves while increasing their global cultural knowledge. 

How I stay connected to Dickinson: Having had the pleasure to work with Sherri Kimmel during my senior year at Dickinson, I remain a faithful reader of Dickinson Magazine. I am also in contact with the Dickinson in Málaga program. I’m not able to get back to campus as often as I would like, but I do hope to return soon.

What developing global sensibility means to me: It’s developing an appreciation for the way language and culture can enrich your life. Language and cultural knowledge are key elements of communication that open doors and allow us to understand those we meet and be understood by those who meet us. These elements help make us better individuals and, collectively, can result in a more diverse and inclusive global society. As a teacher, I strive not only to provide my students with a solid linguistic background, but also foster in them an appreciation and respect of other cultures.

Published August 22, 2011