Teachers bring international perspective

Posted: December 2, 2011

A new Chinese teacher and two new amities instruct students in their native languages

Minnehaha is able to gain a few new faces

By Alex Lindberg and Pauline Ojambo, Talon staff writers

Walking down the halls of Minnehaha, students are going to notice some new faces.  The language department has brought three new people to the Minnehaha community. There are new Spanish and French amities as well as a new Chinese teacher.

The amities will help out in class while the new Chinese teacher will have to develop is developing  relationships with the current students.


Spanish Amity

Upper School Spanish teacher Randi Cowmeadow uses the Amity Institute based in California to choose amities. 

This year she has chosen Katerine Martinez from Villavicencio, Colombia. Cowmeadow starts choosing amities late winter, early spring by reading the 15-page application.

Martinez has degrees in Art and Language from her college in Bogotá, Colombia. When she returns home, she wants to continue her studies and get her masters degree.

She said that she decided to come to Minnesota to experience the North American culture, practice English and to experience teaching Spanish as a second language. She’s staying for the first part of the year with Hannah Cox in St. Paul.

One of the things Martinez likes is that the teachers are very demanding of their students. She thinks that the students have a lot of skills and the teachers are well prepared.

Though Martinez enjoys this experience, she left all of her family back home in Colombia.

“I always Skype with them,” Martinez said.


French Amity

French teacher Mark Norlander has chosen Eline Barré as this year’s French amity.

Barré is from Metz, France.

Norlander went through the same process Spanish teacher Randi Cowmeadow did in choosing Barré.

Barré wanted to be an amity to become more comfortable with students. Her future goal is to be a teacher and there is no opportunity to teach in France. She went to the Universite Paul Verlaine and has a bachelor degree in English.

“I am very happy,” said Barré. “I love it here.”

She loves the student’s spirits and the relationships between student and teacher.

Barré is familiar with the United States; she has been here for two years living for some time in Boston and in New York. For the first three months of her stay in Minnesota, she’s staying with Alasdair Boyle in Minneapolis.

“I do not want to go back [to France],” Barré said.

She is applying to become a French teacher at the University of Minnesota.


Chinese Teacher

The new Chinese teacher Ming Dong is from Dalian, China which is not far from the capital, Beijing. He went to George Mason University and has a Masters of education in curriculum and instruction foreign language.

His attraction to Minnehaha Academy was the Christian environment. He believes that God called him to Minnehaha.

In fact, this is his second year of teaching. He taught at Hopkins last year and he really likes his language enough to help others learn it as well.


“I think I am quite interactive. I try to use lots of technology,” said Dong.

He thinks that the students are fabulous and have a great desire to learn. What was surprising to him was how serious and dedicated the students were about the Chinese program.

As the year goes on, Katerine Martinez, Eline Barré and Ming Dong will cruise the halls. Welcome them and introduce yourselves.

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