Teacher of the week 4: Maureen Donehey
Teachers are real life superheroes. Every day, CHS teachers touch the lives of thousands of students, and their work extends beyond the boundaries of the classroom. To show appreciation for these teachers, the Crier asked students to identify teachers that have made a real impact in their lives. A new student and teacher will be featured each week.
For week four, Miro Blake Sta. Maria, ‘17, nominated Spanish teacher Maureen Donehey.
Maria: Señora Donehey has taught me to have fun while learning. She made Spanish fun and a class that I really enjoyed coming to. She made us work with people we wouldn’t usually work with. Because of her, I made new friends.
Crier: What was your reaction to finding out you were nominated as a teacher hero?
Donehey: I wondered which of my many students nominated me. I have so many [students], 150 or so every year, and enjoy every one of them.
Crier: How do you make learning a new language easier for your students?
Donehey: [I] try to teach the students how to learn and to follow a schedule. The student needs to decide that learning comes from within. I try to share my passion for travel, for learning and for “everything Spanish.” I want the students to know how valuable, and fun, a second or third language is because it opens doors to ANY of their interests. I also incorporate music into every lesson–current music and various genres.
Crier: Have you studied abroad? If so, where and what are some fond memories?
Donehey: I first went to Spain when I was 17 years old and fell in love with Barcelona. It was then and there that I began planning for my goal: my return to Spain. After two years at Harper, I went to U of I Chicago and decided to take summer school in Spain before the classes in Barcelona would begin. I’ve studied at Universidad de Salamanca for two months and Universitat de Barcelona in Spain. I’ve also studied at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. I’ve also been to the Canary Islands, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Canada, Argentina, Panama, Morocco, France, England, Ireland, German, Italy, India, and Egypt.
Crier: Do you have a favorite Spanish saying/artist/book?
Donehey: My favorite Spanish saying is “poco a poco se va lejos,” which means little by little, you go far.
Crier: What do you like to do with your family outside of school?
Donehey: Outside of school my family and I are constantly exploring ways to continue to learn about other cultures and especially more about other Spanish-speaking countries. We are always planning our next trip in order to immerse ourselves in the culture of the people of those countries—not beach/tourist trips but rather history, language, food, art, music and current events.
Crier: If you could take an educational tour of different Spanish-speaking nations and immerse yourself in their culture, which other teachers from your department would you bring along and why?
Donehey: I would bring Mr. Dennis Nykiel because, like me, he loves to learn about other countries and their people. Spanish is more than just our job, more than just the subject we teach. We incorporate Spanish into our daily lives in every way we can. We both love to talk with the people on the streets and practice our Spanish with them. We are both passionate about our subject and all the ins and outs of the history and culture of everywhere that Spain has touched.