A passion for language learning and teaching.

Sophia Spector '15

Sophia Spector '15, First-Grade Teacher

Major: Anthropology and Italian 

Study Abroad: Bologna Consortial Studies, Italy

Employer: Public School 86, Bronx, NY

The first question people ask me when I tell them I am a first-grade teacher is, "Did you always know you wanted to be a teacher?" The honest answer is no. All of my summer jobs growing up involved children in some capacity, so I knew I enjoyed working with them, but I never knew I wanted to be a teacher until I studied abroad in Bologna, Italy during my junior year at Mount Holyoke.

The students in my study abroad program were given the opportunity to volunteer at an Italian middle school once a week and teach English. I signed up and slowly began to realize how much I loved teaching. As a learner of the Italian language, I was able to connect with students over the difficulties of learning a new language in school. This experience inspired me to apply to the New York City Teaching Fellows program my senior year.

After my acceptance, I began working as a first grade English as a New Language teacher in a public school in the Bronx and enrolled in a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Masters program at Hunter College. I am currently in my second year teaching and will graduate in May of 2017. My Italian major at Mount Holyoke helped me discover my true passion for language learning and teaching and prepared me for my career tremendously.