For our May Dual Language Teacher of the Month, we decided to do something different than our normal individual nomination. This month, we are honoring Mary and Mika, a Spanish and English teacher duo in the Kindergarten Dual Immersion class from Holbrook Language Academy in Concord, California. Their Principal, Ms. Marga Marshall, brought these two to our attention. Ms. Marshall is incredibly dedicated to her school and their dedication to bilingual education, and wanted to make sure that these two were nominated together. After all, how many in the dual language field have the experience of teaching dual language with a partner? Many have this experience, and if this pertains to you, feel free to nominate a dual language teacher duo at your school by utilizing the form at duallanguageschools.org.
Teaching dual language is incredibly challenging, rewarding and requires a great deal of persistence and extra attention. Many would not be able to give students the amount of attention they deserve without their classroom partner. When we asked Ms. Marshall about her desire to have both teachers featured, she said, "The reason why I'm nominating both teachers is because they are both the perfect team for the program and it wouldn't work without them. At Holbrook Language Academy we follow the partnering model where one teacher is the Spanish model (Maestra Vizcay) and the English model (Mika Phinney) in Kindergarten.
These two teachers are not only exceptional in the teaching profession, but showcase their love and passion for bilingual education daily through their dedication in classroom for the students, the time they take to do parent workshops in the evenings, collaborative planning, and conferences with parents when needed make the TWDI program at Holbrook a leading one. They truly are what a Two Way Dual Immersion program with teaming should look like. #sebilingüe –Principal Marga Marshall
With that, we couldn't be more thrilled to share a bit about Mary and Mika and their amazing classroom at Holbrook Language Academy!
Mary and Mika have both been in education for a many years. Mary has been dedicated to bilingual education for the last 23 years, as a bilingual classroom teacher, a bilingual intervention coordinator and interventionist and a bilingual literacy coach. Mika has been in education, in both Title I and Spanish-speaking populations since 1994. She has worked in a variety of capacities; classroom teacher, literacy coach, intervention coordinator, K-5 art teacher/coach, Teacher Leader for the Turnaround Arts Initiative (President's Committee on Arts and Humanities) and dance teacher.
Their interest in being involved in education has been a long time coming. Even before Mary knew that she wanted to be a teacher, she was always finding opportunities to work with children and teach others. At a young age, she became the tutor and teacher for her best friend who was a struggling student.
I remember reading books aloud to her because her dyslexia kept her from enjoying reading. It was in those moments that I discovered my talent for teaching and the reward that comes from teaching others.
Continue reading to find out more about this inspiring dual language duo…