¡Hola! My name is Sean Cassidy, yet all my students and staff know me as “Don Luciano.” I figured, if I can give my students Spanish names for the year, why can’t I join in on the fun too?! Anyway, I am a graduate of Ohio University in both Spanish and Latin American Studies and in total, have been studying Spanish for over 11 years and absolutely love being able to pass on the knowledge of the language in my classroom. Previously, I worked as a medical Spanish interpreter and Pre-K home-school teacher specifically for incoming undocumented immigrants transitioning their children into American schools. Needless to say, my passions align with both the Spanish language/culture and humanitarian work.
I first entered the world of education through Teach for America. An alum now, I stayed in my placement school and work teaching high school Spanish in inner city Cleveland. For a little bit of background, Cleveland leads the nation with the highest child poverty rate at 53%. In turn, our schools provide 100% free lunch for our students. Academically speaking, Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) hosts a glorious “F” rating. Whoo! Now, granted, there are some really awesome things happening in Cleveland, but the challenges still exist. Continuing on, specifically at my school, our student population is about 25% SPED and 22% ELL. My class sizes average 30-40 students and kids will cuss you out, settle arguments with fists, ignore all classroom rules and protocols, and miss class due to spending a week in jail or being too busy getting their hair did, because teenage ridicule is real. Teaching is hard enough, but teaching inner city has presented its own set of unique challenges, let me tell you. I want to believe though that I have made some serious impact and that my classroom is a special place and language learning, just as much as math and science, can take the front stage. As a result, I decided to build this site and share all my resources, ideas, tips, and tricks with educators like you.
I believe in my kids. They stand up in the face of adversity every day. Their race, socio-economic status, education, family/ home life, and overall understanding of the world seem to only create barriers that I work every day to chip away at. Sure, they are obnoxious as all get out at some point. And yeah, they can be blatantly disrespectful and seem so far from reaching their potential, but at the end of the day, they are kids. Kids who deserve nothing but the best from us. Kids who can and will impress you. Most of them want to learn. I promise. So show up and show out. You are allowed to drag your feet coming in to work some days, I get that, but the important thing is you showed up. They notice.
They are the future for goodness sake, you might as well mold them well.
México. Costa Rica. Guatemala. Nicaragua. Panamá. Puerto Rico. Miami. A trip to Chile on the books…
…and the list will go on (someone buy me a plane ticket!! :-] )
TRAVEL. TRAVEL. TRAVEL.
(If you can, take your students… but at the very least, travel yourself and continue to learn! The world is full of Spanish – and you don’t even have to leave the USA to be surrounded by it. Remember to always share that information with your students and encourage them to explore the world and build bridges between cultures.)