Iolanda Volpe

In college, I majored in Spanish and Italian language and literature and minored in secondary education. The Education courses included pedagogy, adolescent psychology and a semester of student teaching at a public high school where I observed 3-4 classes each day and after a month I taught 2 classes each day.

I loved being in the classroom and interacting with students and, at the same time, sharing my passion for learning and teaching world languages and cultures. I began teaching Spanish at the high school level 3 months after graduation and a few years later took a hiatus to explore the hotel / service industry for a couple of years and also to raise my two daughters.

I earned a MA in Latin American Literature and returned to the high school classroom full time. I have been teaching for a total of 25 years at the high school level and a couple of years as a “ fellow” at Boston College where I earned my MA.

I have also been in the role of Mentor Program Facilitator/ leader at the high school for six years, prior to my current role of department chair for World Languages.  As a mentor leader, I planned and conducted meetings for the new teachers and did some training for teachers who were identified to be mentors.  The support and feedback that I offered to new teachers and mentors was not evaluative.

This past year I was asked to take on this role again and I am finding it very rewarding. I have continued to be a classroom teacher and I enjoy having a dual role.  Being in the classroom is like being in a laboratory, I have the invaluable opportunity of getting student feedback and seeing first hand which instructional practices work best.  As a department chair I observe and evaluate 14 language teachers, including teachers who are new to the district and/ or to the teaching profession.  I enjoy my work with new teachers and I feel that I have the experience, and ability, to identify and support their needs, and therefore, make their induction a meaningful, useful and inspiring experience.