FLL alumna Ashley Edwards is a native North Carolinian currently working as a Spanish teacher at Wakefield High School in Raleigh, NC.
Ashley graduated from NC State in 2006 as a Foreign Languages and Literatures Major. She also completed a Concentration in Teaching Education and an ESL certification. She came back to NCSU in 2009 to complete her MA in Spanish degree.
In the following edited interview — conducted by Samuel Sotillo last November — she talks about the journey that took her from being a student at Wakefield High in Raleigh, NC, to her current position as a highly-qualified Spanish teacher at the same school. Read the full interview at the FLL Blog.
Samuel Sotillo: First, could you tell us a little bit about your background? Where are you from? Where did you go in HS?
Ashley Edwards: I was born and raised in Wake Forest, NC. I am an only child. I went to high school where I now work (Wakefield High School).
SS: Can you tell us a little bit about the intellectual or personal trajectory that brought you to teaching?
AE: As a child, I used to line up my stuffed animals and teach them. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher. I always looked up to my teachers and respected them very much.
SS: Did you participate in any community engagement opportunities or trip abroad related to your FLL major while at NC State?
AE: In the summer of 2004, during my undergraduate studies, I studied abroad in Peru with Kay and Leo Villa-Garcia. I completed two courses during that summer, climbed to Machu Picchu, connected with a Peruvian family, made tons of friends and expanded my Spanish proficiency. After coming back from Peru, I was in love with everything Spanish!
“Grad School taught me just HOW important continuous learning and challenging yourself is.”
SS: You also completed Grad School here in our department. What skills that you learned as a FLL Grad Student do you think are most critical to your success as a teacher?
AE: Making the decision to go to Grad School taught me just HOW important continuous learning and challenging yourself is. I was able to use the research I was reading about in my courses and immediately implement them into my classroom. I learned about past and emerging teaching methods that I could test out on my students!
SS: Giving recent changes in NC Schools in which State level teachers will not longer be eligible to get economic incentives for completing a Masters degree, do you think that a MA in FLL is still worth the money?
AE: Honestly, the money was a great incentive but if I had to do it again knowing the lack of economic incentive, I would still do it. There are many benefits to a MA in FLL! After years of teaching, we forget why we do what we do and we just do it. Going back to school reminds you of the theories behind the madness and why what we do works!
SS: Anything you are reading right now?
AE: I am attempting to re-read Hunger Games: Catching Fire for the second time before I go see the movie! I love any books by Nick Hornby.
SS: Anything else we should know about you? What do you look forward the most?
AE: I’m getting married in JUNE!!! I have 2 dogs that I love very much… but I have not been able to teach them how to fetch (epic teacher fail!) I look forward to taking students to Spain. Watching students navigate their way through tough situations in a foreign language and, in turn, grow so much, is simply amazing!
SS: Do you have any advice for our students and recent alumni who are on the job market?
AE: Get into a classroom as soon as possible! Volunteer to help in any way you can to be sure that teaching is your passion because if it is not, you will be sadly disappointed in the reality of the hard work coming your way!
By Samuel Sotillo (Lecturer/Webmaster).