By RENEE FITE
Many students learn a second language in high school as a requirement.
Being bilingual helps students in a variety of ways, from increasing their employment opportunities to improving their English skills.
Tahlequah High School Spanish 1 and 2 teacher Natalie Cloud encourages students to get the full value of their education.
“I try to make learning Spanish fun, but I also try to persuade students that it will make them a more qualified employee in their future endeavors if they choose to learn Spanish,” Cloud said.
A Miami High School graduate, Cloud earned an associate’s degree in general studies from NEOA&M College in Miami, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish education and Master of Education degree educational administration from Northeastern State University.
She’s working on her doctorate in school administration at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa.
It was Cloud’s high school Spanish teacher who inspired her.
“I chose to teach Spanish because of the wonderful high school teacher Anne Chambliss,” said Cloud. “She inspired me to want to teach others Spanish. She was always so excited about her subject area and made it easy for others to learn it.”
The foreign language teacher taught here from 1999-2004, then moved back here in 2009, so she’s taught in Tahlequah nine years. She’s also worked as an administrator in Iowa at Fort Madison Community School District as the 21st Century Community Learning Grant Director at two elementary schools and taught Spanish 1, 2 and 3 at Bluestem High School in Leon, Kan. She has 15 years’ experience.
“I love when students identify a grammar structure from their native language that they thought they didn’t understand until learning a second language,” Cloud said.
Making her students comfortable helps them learn and succeed, so Cloud stands at her door each morning and greets them in Spanish or in English.
“I enjoy the relationships with students that are formed over the period of time we are together in class,” she said.
“I want the students to know I was fair, consistent and that they know I truly enjoyed having them as students.”
Cloud really loves her career.
“I enjoy the constant learning and changing that is ever-evolving in the world of education,” Cloud said.
She especially likes teaching at Tahlequah High School.
“THS is an exceptional place where everyone is constantly striving to improve our school,” she said
“I have many great co-workers that I bounce ideas off and share things or activities that work and sometimes don’t work,” she said.
Part of a students’ success is having the support of their parents.
“Parents should stay just as involved at the secondary level in their students’ education as they do at the elementary level, and the secondary level should accommodate them more in this,” Cloud said.
She encourages new teachers to discover their own style.
“Try, try, and try it again until it works,” said Cloud.