The Ghostwriter had a chance to interview Bonnie Block, Westford Academy’s newest Spanish teacher.
Question: What class are you teaching?
Answer: I teach Spanish classes.
Q: What level Spanish classes?
A: One, two, and three.
Q: Do you teach any honors?
A: Yes, three honors.
Q: Do you have a favorite class that you teach?
A: No, not really. I like all of them for different reasons.
Q: Tell us about why you moved to Westford Academy.
A: Because it has a great reputation and I have a friend who lives nearby and his kids went through Westford Academy, and so I knew that this was a good school.
Q: How long have you been teaching?
A: Off and on for 18 years.
Q: Where did you work previously?
A: I’ve worked in private schools, an all-girls private school, an international school, I worked in Korea, I worked at university and college level, and I’ve worked [in] public [schools] in Texas also.
Q: What universities did you teach at?
A: Rutgers, one of the Penn State campuses, Kutztown University, and Muhlenberg.
Q: How are you enjoying WA, so far?
A: So far, I love it. Everybody’s very nice and very helpful, which is wonderful. It’s kind of hectic, I’m not used to the frantic pace. I’m used to [the day] being longer and slower, which isn’t better, it’s just different. So, it just takes a little while for me to transition to what I consider a frantic pace, but the benefit is we’re not finished at two, but we can leave shortly after, so that’s very different for me.
Q: Your previous school system wasn’t similar, right?
A: No, not at all.
Q: How did it differ, other than the pacing?
A: The blocks were 85 minutes long and we had 10 minutes in between classes. It was supposed to be project-based learning, so the majority of what we did was supposed to be projects rather than tests and quizzes. It was an all-girls school and it was very small.
Q: How do you like the atmosphere here at WA?
A: I love it, it’s very energetic and everybody’s really nice, I love the diversity of students. I think it’s a great school.
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: I did my undergraduate study in Texas at the University of Texas in Arlington and I did my graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania.
Q: Tell me about what influenced you to go into foreign language.
A: I lived in Texas, and at that time, I was originally going to go into English, and then I just always really enjoyed Spanish. I was surrounded by Spanish speakers in Texas and I saw many more job opportunities for Spanish speakers in Texas. I’ve had a number of jobs outside of education where I used Spanish and I found it to be my foot in the door, actually because then and now Texas is a bilingual state and so I had all kinds of jobs because of Spanish. It got me in, which if I hadn’t had it I wouldn’t have gotten those jobs.
Q: Since you have children who have already graduated high school, what advice would you give your students?
A: I would say take advantage of all the opportunities you could possibly take advantage of. There are many, many, many different things to pursue and if you see something that you’re interested in, you should check it out. You may like it, you may not like it, you may love it, but at least you checked it out. It’s a good, safe time to check out things and pursue different avenues of interest.