BY REDEEMER SCHOOL PARENT, CLAIRE WAIT
Señora Grace Bartelt is the new Middle School Spanish teacher at Redeemer School this year, but she and her family are no strangers around here. She and her three older brothers actually attended Redeemer School in elementary school, and her parents were among the original board members. After 5th grade, Sra. Bartelt attended Ellis Middle School, then Davie County High School. She went on to attend and graduate from Covenant College, and after that worked in ministry for ten months in El Paso, TX. When she returned to Winston-Salem in 2019, we were excited to have her return to Redeemer School this year, now as a member of our faculty!
Because of her own experience as an alum, Señora Bartelt has a lot in common with and plenty of advice for her students:
On growing up in a big family:
Growing up with three big brothers meant I developed a habit of eating quickly, so I could make sure I would get seconds. I actually had to learn that it is okay to slow down when I eat. As for fighting, I will say that we all started really getting along when I went to college. So there’s definitely hope for all of you who cannot stand your siblings right now.
On her time as a student at Redeemer School:
I loved everything about this school. I had great friends here. I remember loving my teachers. I loved doing nature studies and still enjoy seeing how purposeful God is in every part of creation. I loved that my parents were so involved and it was always really fun when they were at school to teach E-days or volunteer. I ended up going to a public middle school and I didn’t hate it at all. It was like Redeemer taught me how to just accept myself and others.
On leaving Redeemer and going to public school:
I think I was weird. Well, by weird, I guess I mean quiet and different. But I always had a lot of confidence, and I didn’t worry about what other people thought of me. I mean, I am who I am. Also, I was always nice to everyone. That was something that just made sense to me. So I really never felt like I didn’t belong or was left out or any of the other things that seem so common for middle schoolers today. I wish kids would know that actually everyone is a little bit weird, so the sooner you can embrace that about yourself, the better.
On learning Spanish and becoming bilingual:
When I was about eight years old, I started taking an annual mission trip to Mexico with my church. We were building a school for the deaf. I was actually more interested in sign language than I was in Spanish at the time, but I was sort of learning both. Then, in college, I met a boy who was home-schooled and had taught himself to be bilingual. I thought, “I can do that if I just work hard enough.” So I did. I spent a semester in Spain, did a two-month Spanish immersion program at Middlebury College in Vermont, and graduated with a minor in Spanish.
Best part of teaching at Redeemer:
I love the clever things my students say in class. They can make me truly laugh with their out-of-left-field humor or just plain clever jokes. I love hearing their accents, whether it be hearing them find their beautiful Spanish roll in their r’s, or the horrendous (intentional) American Southern accents while speaking Spanish. Having a student who is a native and fluent speaker in my 6th-grade class has kept me on my toes, since he’s alert to catch any mistakes I happen to make in class…. I always tell my classes that mistakes are learning opportunities and not to be ashamed of them, so it’s good practice to be called out by one of my own students. He is so polite when doing so; it’s honestly like having a personal dictionary and grammar coach!
When she’s not in her classroom, you can find Sra. Bartelt hanging out with high school students as a Davie County Young Life leader. From overcoming struggles with dyslexia in early life, to playing college soccer, to teaching herself and now teaching others another language, Señora Grace Bartelt is a fantastic example of someone actively using the gifts God gave her and blessing others with them. We are so happy to have her here this year!
*reprinted with permission from Redeemer School’s Doorpost newsletter Fall 2019 issue.*
Redeemer School is a private Christian school utilizing the hands-on, childhood-honoring educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. For more information about Redeemer School and upcoming Open House events, see: www.redeemerschool.org/admissions/inquiryform.
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