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The Optimist

South welcomes new Spanish teacher

Iona Pfingston, Staff Writer

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When Shelby Batten planned a farewell party for her last day of student teaching at South, she had bittersweet memories. She never anticipated that she would be returning the following year for a full-time teaching job. Now she instructs freshman and sophomores as a Spanish I and II teacher.

“The most difficult thing about the job is that it’s hard to get [the freshmen and sophomores] ready to talk. I have a dry sense of humor that they don’t really understand yet,” Batten said.

Batten grew up in Montpelier, Indiana where she took Spanish in high school but ironically didn’t learn much and wasn’t very interested in it. She later moved to Bloomington to pursue a double major in Spanish linguistics and criminal justice at IU. In following this course of study she developed her love of Spanish.

Before finding a solid teaching job, Batten student taught for four trimesters at South in Spanish teacher Shirin Ansari’s classroom. After the 2017 school year ended, she was hoping to teach abroad for a semester or two in Colombia but didn’t have any solid plans.

Ansari shared that she when a position “unexpectedly” opened at the end of the year, she had proposed that Batten apply but “didn’t really expect for Batten to be interested.” Batten was tentative at first to commit to a full time teaching job, fearing that she would not find the right school. However, she soon realized that South was the “perfect school for [her].”

“The only way I would ever leave South is if I tried out for The Voice and won,” Batten said jokingly.

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South welcomes new Spanish teacher