Marshalla reflects on a golden year

Marshalla poses in front of South America in her fabulously decorated room
Photo by Will Garren

Over the past decade, the RAHS community has seen dozens of amazing instructors who have left a profound mark on the school’s culture. This year, there was a sterling new addition to the world language department; Ms. Ramana Marshalla. As the end of the 2017-2018 school year nears, Marshalla reviews her first year as a Profe.

“It feels amazing to be working, finally, in my chosen profession,” said Marshalla. “I’ve wanted to be [a] teacher since I was very young, and specifically a Spanish teacher for about a decade. It’s hard to believe that we’re reaching the end of this school year. It has been a challenging year in many respects.”

Throughout the school year, Marshalla went the extra mile in her efforts as a teacher, putting her students and work first in many regards.

“Learning to divide my time and attention between three different levels of Spanish, my professional responsibilities outside of direct instruction in the classroom, teaching advisory, and being [an] advisor to three clubs has at times felt like trying to summit an icy hill with oil-covered feet,” said Marshalla. “Grading, planning, doing research, designing curriculum, writing tests, etcetera, regularly overtook my attempts to maintain some semblance of a personal life.”

With her determination to succeed as a teacher, Marshalla’s first year at RAHS has not gone without recognition. Earlier in the year, she was nominated by the Highline School District Foundation for her excellent performance as a brand new teacher.

“I genuinely love what I do and I certainly want to be the best I can be, but I did not expect any sort of recognition for my work this year. Thus, to have been nominated was a dream come true. I cried when I first saw the nomination because it felt like recognition for all my hard work,” said Marshalla. “My dedication, and the hours I’ve put in to be the best Profe [teacher] I can be.”

Students such as junior Katie Taylor have grown accustomed to her bubbly teaching style.

“I really enjoyed having her this year. She’s a very nurturing teacher,” said Taylor, “and you can tell that she really loves teaching Spanish. She’s so energetic.”

Junior Logan Lemieux was initially uneasy about switching Spanish teachers during his junior year. However, he was pleasantly surprised.

“I was kinda scared–it was like, this teacher is not Sr. P. I don’t know how this is gonna go down, right?” said Lemieux. “So I suppose I had pretty low expectations going in, but even if they were higher, I would not have been let down.”

Although being nominated, Marshalla has also been working closely alongside William Peterson, the lead teacher of RAHS’ Spanish program, to become better acquainted with the program. Because the program is one of a kind, and a rarity in traditional high schools, it took extra time.

“It feels great to be able to mentor another Spanish teacher, especially Marshalla, because she is so passionate and wants to do well,” said Peterson. “She wants to advance the program, and I feel like that I have a lot of effective ideas for how to learn Spanish that I can share with her.”

Marshalla was thankful for how welcoming and helpful Peterson was. Giving most of her appreciation to how his positivity and encouragement helped her.

“Working with Sr. P as a mentor has been tremendous,” said Marshalla. “He is such a pro, such a master of his craft that I felt intimidated coming in as a total novice. I had such fear that I wouldn’t measure up to his standards, but this year, Sr. P has proven time and time again that he has my back.”

Peterson was thrilled to help Marshalla throughout the year because he also was a first year teacher at RAHS six years ago.

“She is so passionate and wants to do well. She wants to advance the program,” said Peterson, “and I feel like that I have a lot of effective ideas for how to learn Spanish that I can share with her. Such as BBC Mundo, Notes in Spanish, [and] the communicative approach.”

Like a well oiled machine, Marshalla swiftly navigated through her first year at RAHS and remembered some of her favorite memories from this year.

“There are so many awesome memories I cherish from this year!” said Marshalla. “From my room being filled with tissue paper confetti after making Día de los Muertos flowers that I found it [on] the carpet for a month, to being laughed at for slithering across the floor to try to teach students a verb without using English, to the many ‘ah-ha’ moments when things clicked for students… I mostly remember the feeling I got so many times in the classroom when my kiddos and I laughed together.”


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