Best Teacher, 9-12: Liz Waddick, Summit High School
BRECKENRIDGE — Liz Waddick, a Spanish teacher at Summit High School, sees her job as more than teaching Spanish to Summit High juniors to help them get a job — she sees it as a responsibility to help them become global citizens.
“I argue that, sure, learning a language might help get a job or get into college,” Waddick said. “But more than that, it improves your quality of life and opens up entire new experiences and ways of thinking.”
Waddick’s approach to teaching Spanish is based in the idea that knowing another language improves people’s lives.
“I approach teaching with the concept of developing caring learners with empathy,” Waddick said. “Language is such a big part of that. It helps build community, where people can learn from each other.”
Waddick said her teaching style involves immersing students into the language through “movement,” including acting scenes out, interviewing each other in Spanish and asking each other interesting questions in the language, such as what hopes and dreams they have.
As far as why she’s a teacher, Waddick said it’s all about helping her students become better people.
“I think it’s a noble profession, and I’m proud to be a teacher,” Waddick said. “I’m proud to get into the classroom every day to help give these kids a life that is of value.”
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