Good Talk: Señora Finch

Meet the Spanish teacher who once backpacked across Europe!

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photo by Kara Mihm

Mary Marzula, Staff Writer

What made you want to become a teacher?

I knew I wanted to be a teacher since ninth grade. I took my first Spanish class and loved it. I loved the idea of working with young people and hoped I could be a positive influence.

Why did you choose to teach Spanish? 

I loved all my high school Spanish classes and teachers. The class came easily to me, and it was fun. It also gave me opportunities to travel.

How long have you been teaching at NA?

This is my 13th year at NA — ten at NAI and three at NASH.  I also taught at Seneca Valley for 10 years and at Center (which merged with Monaca to become the Central Valley School District) for two years.

Do you have any favorite memories of your years of teaching?

I have a lot of them actually.  Every time I re-read a card or email that I have received from students (past and present) and the nice things they have written.  I love it when they stay in touch and let me know what and how they’re doing.  For a span of time, I was traveling between NAI and NASH and as a result, I ended up having some students for 3-4 years. It was nice to see how they grew from a young 9th grader to a mature senior during that time. And when you have students for a longer period of time, you are able to build better relationships with them.  They are my favorite memories.

What’s your favorite hobby outside of school?

I love to watch my sons playing their sports and participating in their activities, and I like to scrapbook.

If you weren’t a teacher what job do you think you would’ve done?

If I weren’t a teacher, I’d probably be a secretary.  I love desk/office supplies and organizers.

If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go? 

I’m pretty fortunate to have done a lot of traveling. I’ve been to Spain four times (two were studied abroad experiences where I lived with a family and took classes, and two were just for visiting.) While living in Spain for that first semester, I traveled throughout Spain and Portugal on the weekends by train. After finishing that semester in Spain, I backpacked through Europe, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands before returning home.  But I would love to go to Hawaii and Australia someday.

What’s your favorite TV show or movie?

I can’t just choose one. I have been a diehard Walking Dead fan from the very beginning. I also love This Is Us.

What has been the most stressful thing you’ve had to pick up on to prepare for the hybrid style learning? 

It’s hard to pick just one! But, I guess the hardest, most stressful thing in adjusting to hybrid learning is not being able to teach the way I want to … I feel like I’m stuck in front of my computer where normally I wouldn’t be in front of it all. I almost feel like my classroom was taken away from me if that makes any sense.

Do you have any pets?

Not currently, but I have had dogs in the past. They are my favorite!

What’s your favorite thing to do with your family?

My favorite thing to do with my family is our family game nights.  I especially cherish them now knowing that my boys are seniors and they will be coming to an end.

What are your favorite seasons?

Definitely fall and summer. I absolutely hate and dread the winter.

What advice would you give to students during this hard time with hybrid learning?

I would tell them all to reach out to their teachers if they ever need anything or have any questions.