Mr. Hall, an Andover High Spanish and French teacher, was nominated by one of his colleagues for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year for 2014. While this educator of 20 plus years did not move on to the semifinalist round, he was still honored to be nominated.
If you were to merely sit in on one of Mr. Hall’s French or Spanish classes, you would encounter a room full of invested students who genuinely enjoy their teacher. In my class with Señor Hall, more often than not I would find myself thanking him for helping us to understand something in an entertaining and interactive way.
“Students can tell if a teacher is invested in what they’re doing,” says Mr. Hall on why he thinks he was nominated for this prestigious award. Mr. Hall says that according to his students, “I care about French and Spanish but I also like students and care about teaching.”
The dedicated teacher says that he tries to stay as current as possible and attempts to give students “authentic French and Spanish material” as opposed to what he simply calls “classroom French and Spanish.” He incorporates multiple methods in his teaching that try to collectively teach speaking, listening and writing in both languages “in every block.” Mr. Hall uses one particular method of teaching called Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling, or TPRS. TPRS includes small stories that integrate multiple vocabulary words for all levels of Spanish or French speakers. The stories are usually combined with actions that follow each specific vocabulary word, acting as a type of movement-involved pneumonic device. Many students find this method to be helpful, and the chuckles generated from certain actions/sounds for the vocabulary words are an added bonus.
Sadly, Mr. Hall was eliminated from contention for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s award of the year, but that didn’t stop him from feeling grateful to have been nominated. “I was honored to be honored,” Mr. Hall said with a smile, “It’s a nice positive reinforcement that someone has recognized my hard work.”
By Zach Perry