World traveler joins foreign languages department

Spanish teacher Lana Harter answers junior Alayna Bristow’s questions before starting an exam in 7th hour Spanish II.(Photo by Phoebe Mussman)

Spanish teacher Lana Harter answers junior Alayna Bristow’s questions before starting an exam in 7th hour Spanish II.(Photo by Phoebe Mussman)

Phoebe Mussman
Contributing Writer

Lana Harter, new Spanish teacher, taught six years ago at Edwardsville and began teaching high school just this year.

Harter started learning Spanish her freshman year in high school, but says that she only became fluent later.

“In my last two years, my teacher didn’t know English. She was from Cambodia, and I became really good friends with her.”

Harter studied in college to become a math professor but shortly realized that language was her passion. She grew up in central Illinois in a town of 40,000; both her parents grew up on farms. Upon graduating high school with a class of 70 people, Harter recognized she wanted to travel and pursue a career in education. Harter lived in Spain for two consecutive summers in college, visited Costa Rica for six months abroad and traveled to family in Mexico, speaking Spanish all the time (other countries she’s visited include Nicaragua, England, Portugal, Italy and France).

“I previously taught at Edwardsville Elementary School which was, of course, extremely different from high school. Webster High School is a lot bigger than Edwardsville… I love Webster so far. I love that the students like knowing about their teachers. They want to know what I did on the weekend,” Harter said.

Last year Harter completed her master’s degree. She’s also a presenter for American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) and will direct its meeting this November.

“All my teachers influenced me- I think I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.” Harter was especially close with her Spanish and FACS teachers; she even visited them last month.

About advice for aspiring teachers, Harter answered, “Don’t listen to discouragement and negativity you might hear about teaching. It’s amazing, seeing your work shaping people’s future and impacting youth.”



Categories: Features

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