By Ansley Prior
Bath-Dewitt Connection staff writer
BATH — During the past month’s school board meeting, students in the new Spanish program at Bath Middle School demonstrated how much they had learned and how much fun they had doing it, impressing board members and others in attendance.
The program, which began in August, is taught by Lindsay Hurst and aims to give students a head start on completing the two years of foreign language now required to graduate, as well as preparing them for advanced Spanish classes in high school.
A young teacher herself, Hurst and the new Spanish program seem to be getting along just fine in Bath.
“I graduated from MSU in 2008, was a permanent sub for a year in Utica, taught Spanish for one year in Wisconsin, and this year moved back to the Lansing area for my husband’s job and was so excited to find out I was hired in Bath Community Schools,” Hurst said. “I love it here.”
Learning a new language may be challenging, but Hurst’s class is an example of how it can also be fun, interesting, and extremely useful.
“I really try hard on a day-to-day basis to plan activities that will engage the students and keep them interested,” Hurst said. “My classroom involves a lot of participation in answering questions, games, competitions and doing everything the students can to speak Spanish. I think it is something new and different in their school day.”
According to about.com, Spanish is the world’s second most spoken language. Chinese is first and English is third.
“On top of requirements to graduate, knowing a second language can be beneficial to students in the long run, as well,” Hurst said. “Even things like traveling to places where Spanish is spoken, they will learn the basics in my class and be able to use common phrases and navigate their way around.”
After the building success at the middle-school level there have been talks of expanding the program to third grade, however no plans have been set forth.
“I hope this is in my future. I think they hope this, as well,” Hurst said. “The earlier, the better. I also teach at St. Thomas Aquinas School in East Lansing and they start the students with Spanish in preschool; it really is a great thing.”