New on Campus: Jaimie Spetseris, ESOL Support Teacher International and Global Connections Assistant
What would students be surprised to find out about you?
Along with teaching ESOL, I have a background in teaching outdoor education. Specifically, I lived in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California for five years where I taught at what's called an outdoor science school, teaching students about environmental science as well as outdoor skills while hiking through the forest. I love the outdoors and traveling! I've traveled to over 30 countries, lived in Colombia and New Zealand for more than a year each, and while living out West, I spent much of my free time visiting National Parks. If you ever need travel advice or help planning an outdoor adventure, come see me!
What is your favorite book, movie, and band/performer?
I've never been good at choosing superlatives; however, at the moment, I'm thinking of The Four Agreements as my favorite book because I read it at a time in my life when the message really resonated with me. It encouraged me to get my certification to teach English as a second language (which helps with what I'm doing now!) and move to Colombia to teach English and learn Spanish.
A movie that has always touched me is Forrest Gump. I think we can all learn from Forrest's approach to life and attitude that we can do anything we put our minds to.
Finally, I'm stumped! I can't think of a band, but I do love the programming on WRFG 89.3 Atlanta community radio station. They plan a diverse mix of music, and I enjoy the variety — especially the morning blues block.
What constitutes a “good day” at school for you?
Each day at Woodward has been a great day! I love my job and teaching ESOL. One of my favorite moments in a day is witnessing a student experience an "aha" moment while learning — this is one of the reasons I teach.
How did your own school experience influence your teaching career?
I'm an Atlanta native and attended Atlanta Public Schools, including Grady High School (now Midtown High). There are a few teachers and classes that stand out to me, such as my AP U.S. History class with Mr. Winter. His passion for history was contagious, and he found ways to make learning fun — such as when we dressed in costumes (yep, white wigs and all!) to act out the Constitutional Convention in the theater. I think of teachers and experiences that have stayed with me, as they encouraged me to pursue teaching.
What is the single most important thing you hope to impart to your students?
With the right attitude and mindset, you can learn and do anything. That will often be one of your biggest hurdles in life. Fortunately, we have the power to choose our perspective, and how to do our part to make the world a better place.