Jennifer Speir Returns From Camp to Teach Again

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Madeleine Hathorn

As school began in August, Westminster Middle School proudly welcomed back Jennifer Speir to the language hallway. After working at the school for a brief time in the late 1990’s, she next spent time at Warren T. Jackson Elementary School and Concordia Language Villages, a French and Spanish immersion program in Minnesota for children ages 2-18. 

Speir’s interest in languages began early. As her parents worked for PeaceCorps in Brazil, her first language was Portuguese. She moved to the United States soon before kindergarten, requiring her to learn English. Her studies in elementary school led her to French, and she has loved languages since, picking up Spanish in college. 

In the course of thirty-four years working at Concordia, including directing the French village, Speir has met people from French and Spanish speaking countries all over the world. “I have friends in Columbia, and South America, and Mexico, and Spain,” says Speir. “And French as well. And every summer working with people from France, from West Africa, from Switzerland, and Canada.” 

Speir enjoys teaching because she loves seeing students’ reactions when they grasp concepts in her class. “The best part about being a teacher is when you see people learn and discover that they can do things they might not have thought they could, or you help them reach a level of confidence . . . in languages, you’re expressing yourself,” says Speir. “And so there you are expressing yourself in a whole new way, and it allows you to kind of come out of your own shoes and find new ways to . . . communicate.” 

We are truly lucky to have such an experienced and enthusiastic teacher here at Westminster.