Student Becomes Unlikely Teacher at Local High School
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
by Rachel Mattos '10
Every morning Molly Porth, a junior at Saint Joseph’s University, heads to class not as a student, but as a teacher. A double major in English and Spanish, Porth continues to take undergraduate courses while teaching a Spanish class at her former high school, Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Bryn Mawr, Pa. Though an unlikely situation, the job has been a valuable learning experience for her, as well as for her students.
Porth’s lasting ties with her alma mater allowed her to speak to a Spanish class about studying abroad in Santiago, Chile. She never dreamed the visit would spark a job offer. Her high school Spanish teacher, Corina Sylvia, set up the visit and was impressed by how fluent her former student had become in the language. Soon after, a Spanish I teaching position unexpectedly opened up, and Sylvia instantly thought of Porth. Because of Sylvia’s recommendation and Porth’s excellent reputation among the staff, the school formally offered Porth the position.
Although teaching had never crossed her mind, Porth was intrigued by the unexpected opportunity. “I was immediately interested, and my parents also encouraged me to find a way to make it work,” she said.
Despite her typical busy college schedule, Porth managed to integrate the position into her daily routine. She teaches one class of high school freshmen every morning for which she receives course credits at SJU, and then continues on with her day as a university student.
Porth finds that being a student is helpful to her as a teacher. She demands effort from her high school students, but understands the stress and pressure that they are under. The proximity in age also allows her to tap into pop culture and develop assignments that are fun and relevant to them, including translating the lyrics of popular songs into Spanish for extra credit.
Although unsure if she will end up pursuing teaching as a career, Poth has definitely added it onto her list of options. Whatever she ends up doing, she will take this semester with her as a confidence builder and worthwhile experience.
“My teaching experience came about as a surprise, and it has turned into a blessing for me, in terms of realizing my abilities and opening doors for possibilities after graduation,” Porth said. “Although it has been a hectic semester, it has been a rewarding one, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.”