Dual Language August Teacher of the Month
This August, we are excited to honor Melinda Korn, who has been teaching for 13 years at Hawthorn School of Dual Language in Vernon Hills, Illinois. We learned of her from her colleague, Betsy Sostak, who told us that,
“Mindy loves Dual Language and her enthusiasm is contagious! Her students are so proud to be bilingual because of the way she called multilingualism. She reaches all of her learners at all levels of learning by holding them to high standards and believing in them. Students ( like my own) who enter her second grade classroom as non readers flourish due to having her as a teacher. She designs language- rich inquiry based units in which her students are able to engage and deepen their learning in both English and Spanish. She is truly amazing!”- Betsy Sostak
She was inspired to become a teacher because of her dad, who was not a teacher but was passionate about teaching.
As a kid, I can’t think of anyone else who taught me more than he had. He’s the reason I love the act of learning.
In college, Melinda had a Spanish minor, and was asked to student teach in a dual language class. Not knowing what that fully meant back then, she went for it and never turned back and is still teaching in the school that she first started in. She says that she is motivated by seeing her students happy, learning, and always growing.
She later went on to receive her Master’s degree in Bilingual Education, where she presented to a community group about the importance of cognates when teaching and learning in two languages. Through her education, she learned to create a safe, comfortable atmosphere for her students, especially when it comes to taking risks while learning a second language.
To me, biliteracy means passion and opportunity. When learning another language, passion for that language and its culture evolve. This then leads to opportunity. The opportunity to form relationships which may not have formed otherwise. The opportunity to go places and create experiences that may have not otherwise been presented. Biliteracy can enhance one’s life in a beautiful way.
Melinda is constantly praising her second graders for being bilingual and biliterate learners. It’s something they celebrate, and not just once in a while, but daily. She connects with them as well – the celebrations and challenges of learning two languages are ones that she experienced and still do. She tells them that they are all learning together.
Melinda is so passionate about dual language, that she recently had her family move to be in-district where she teaches. Melinda and her husband want their own children to be given the gift of biliteracy – so they moved so that they can be in the dual language program. Their daughter is starting next year.
I see and hope that my impact has led to positive learning experiences in which students are eager to continue in their growth as biliterate students. I view biliteracy as a gift with lots of layers. They’re just beginning to unwrap this amazing gift.