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Spanish Teacher: Lisa De Vries

Lisa DeVries is one of this year’s new additions to our Falcon Family. Currently teaching Spanish for Non-Speakers Level 1 and 2, Mrs. DeVries is someone whose methods are admired by her students and whose caring nature is appreciated. Already an integral part of our Foreign Language Department, Mrs. DeVries is loved by her students as an excellent teacher with many outside interests. After studying architecture, DeVries became a Spanish teacher here at John A. Ferguson High School. Teaching quickly became her passion but it was not her first choice. Her dream job was to be an architect. However, when her sons were in high school, she noticed they were having a difficult time learning math. DeVries didn’t know anything about what they were studying, but she was determined to help them. She began to learn the math concepts that they were learning on her own and when she finally understood what she was doing, she tutored her sons. Because of her, they were able to do better and pass their classes. She found great satisfaction in seeing them succeed, so she decided that instead of becoming an architect, she could become a teacher.

“You need to have ganas,” Mrs. DeVries said. That’s her motto in life. Ganas is a Spanish word for desire. She believes that in order to do something, you need to have a passion for it and give it effort. She says there isn’t a valid reason that you can’t learn something. You are able to learn anything if you set your mind to it. To inspire her students, she puts quotes on the board and discusses it with them to encourage their perspective on school and learning. Mrs. DeVries hopes that her students grasp the message of her ideas and grow a love for learning that she says most people don’t have.

Many students say that Mrs. De Vries’ class is very laid back and easygoing. “I like to take my time with the learning material. I keep teaching until each and every one of my students knows and understands what they’re doing,” says DeVries about this. She doesn’t get tired of reviewing something ten or even one hundred times. Her class goes at its own pace that basically relies on her students. “She’s reviewed the numbers in Spanish at least 5 times already,” says a sophomore in her Spanish 2 class. Mrs. DeVries does not leave a student behind. Everyone in her class learns together whether or not they understand it more quickly than others.

We can all agree that English is not an easy language. From pronunciations to grammar, learning English can be very difficult if it isn’t your first language. That was the case for Mrs. DeVries. When she first came, she didn’t notice how her accent affected the way she spoke. She was speaking in English so she was confused as to why people couldn’t understand her. Talking to her friends, they told her what the problem was, she had a very thick accent that made her words sound like other words. Of course, Mrs. DeVries wanted to get better at speaking English and because of that, she searched up how to reduce her accent just enough so that she could speak to people in a way that they could understand what she was saying. Throughout the years, Mrs. DeVries overcame that barrier and can now speak both languages very well.

Everyone has something that annoys them, known as a pet peeve. Mrs. DeVries main pet peeve is a lack of endeavor. She can’t stand it when people don’t try and then they go ahead and complain about it publicly. Some of her students contain this trait in their personalities. However, that doesn’t stop her from motivating them. DeVries is determined to get someone to get to that A grade they want. “I consider my students my children,” she notes. She’s the type of teacher that genuinely cares for her students and looks at them as people rather than someone they give work to so that they can get paid.

What makes a person who they are today is how they grew up. As a child, Mrs. DeVries was an excellent student. Some might even call her a scholar. Her studies were always her number one priority. They are even her top priority now, but Mrs. DeVries is not only all about that school life. She is also an artist. Outside of school, she takes art lessons. Her next-door neighbor is actually her art teacher. She persuaded Mrs. DeVries to get into a hobby which worked out well for the both of them. DeVries often tells her students about what she makes. Commonly, her work consists of painting. She loves working with different colors and getting to paint a variety of things on canvas, everything from fruit or buildings.

Her life is interesting inside and outside the classroom. Mrs. DeVries is more than just a Spanish teacher at John A. Ferguson High-School. From one event in her life to another, her life is like one big roller coaster.

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