Middle School French & Spanish Teacher Monica Vila-Lynn

Years at the Academy: 3

Degrees: B.S., Guilford College; M.B.A., University of San Diego

What motivated you to become a teacher?

When I moved to France at age 8, my new French classmates asked me to teach them Spanish words, phrases, games and full on conversations through our elementary school days together, and on through high school. My friends had fun learning, and I had even more fun sharing with them what I knew. The exciting part was seeing that they always came back for more! Teaching French and Spanish to my college friends seemed just as natural. The trend continued through graduate school and through my career in international marketing. Meanwhile, I also studied Latin, German, and Italian. Teaching and learning world languages was just an exciting, lively, natural part of life. And just as naturally, when it was time to redefine myself in the first few pages of the “motherhood chapter” of my life, becoming a teacher was the answer. That was 14 years ago, when our first son Nicolas was born. But of course, the teacher in me was born (with passion) long before that!

What are your favorite moments with a student?

One of my favorite moments with a student is when he or she accepts the invitation to work hard on figuring something out, and reaches that “A ha!” moment on his/her own, by properly combining all the learned “tools” that I had the privilege to facilitate days, weeks or months prior. These moments may take place multiple times a day, and the process might take seconds, or even nanoseconds. Yet, those are my favorite magical and everlasting sparks.

What is the most important life lesson you want your students to learn in your class?

Perseverance, optimism, and cooperation lead us to excellence – in any language!
La perseverancia, el optimismo y la cooperación llevan a la excelencia.
La persévérance, l’optimisme et la coopération nous mènent à l’excellence.

How do you keep current with the subject areas you cover?

I am a native Spanish and French speaker and I continuously practice both languages daily with relatives and friends and read novels and news in those languages, so language fluency is permanent. Yearly, I travel to France and Spain. I read online articles and exchange ideas with peers on world language teaching methodology. I also stay tuned to major current events and trends within the Spanish and French speaking countries, so I can update students and engage them to explore those cultures.

If you were stranded on deserted island with just one thing, what would it be?

One BIG family photo of my children, my husband, my three sisters, my nephews and my parents!
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Sewickley Academy is a nationally recognized Pittsburgh private school enrolling students in Pre-K through Grade 12 on a single campus.