October Top Notch Teacher: Cashton’s Lacy Lucey
CASHTON, Wis. (WKBT) — Spanish is one of the fastest-growing languages in the U.S. with an estimated more than 40 million Spanish speakers by next year. One Spanish teacher in Cashton is helping her students learn an important skill in a fun learning environment.
When a student enters a classroom they usually greet the teacher with hello, but in Lacy Lucey’s classroom they say hola. At Cashton High School, Mrs. Lucy is giving students the chance to learn a rapidly growing language in the U.S.
“I want them to learn to love learning. Learning is a great thing, and we should embrace it,” Lucey said.
Pewresearch.org shows the number of Spanish speakers has risen by 233 percent since 1980. Junior Aiden Cook understands how powerful it is to be bilingual.
“I am hoping I can be at least semi-fluent by the time I’m out of high school,” Cook said. “It’s a great skill to have to speak a second language.”
There was a time when Mrs. Lucey thought teaching wasn’t possible, nor was Spanish her first choice.
“I always wanted to teach but I never thought I was smart enough to teach,” Lucey said. “I actually went to school to be a business teacher. I took college accounting and I really hated it.”
That led her on a path of trying something new.
“I thought I would try Spanish and I loved it,” Lucey said.
It’s a lesson she passes down to her students who are also trying a new skill.
“I want students to come and be challenged, but not so challenged that they don’t want to do it,” she said.
Cook said he enjoys the time in her classroom every day.
“You can look forward to Spanish because it’s not the same reading from a textbook or writing stuff down in a notebook,” he said.
Through games and activities that require action and critical thinking, her classroom turns into a headquarters of communication.
“I don’t want them just sitting and breathing in a desk,” Lucey said. I want them doing what we are doing and thinking about what we are thinking about.”
Senior Lily Adams said she makes the content simple to grasp.
“Spanish with her is just immersion,” Adams said. “It’s impossible not to learn it almost.”
She said the more a teacher can relate to students the more passion they will show. Adams said Mrs. Lucey has had an impact on her family.
“My sister is going to school for Spanish,” Adams said. “We are all pretty interested in it. That’s probably because of Mrs. Lucy.”
Lucey said hands-on engagement is the best way to make sure students retain the knowledge.
“That helps and it makes the relationship so much better,” Lucey said. “They are willing to work for you if they know that, ‘She knows my name and that I play the saxophone.’ It’s what makes or breaks this job sometimes.”
Actions can help someone learn a new language. Actions can also help shape them into a better person.
“I think we can say to kids be kind and be nice, but sometimes they don’t even know how to do that,” Lucey said. “It’s so much more powerful to show them.”
She also wants to be the light in her students’ lives.
“We love these kids. They’re our kids and some of them have really bad home lives,” she said. “I want this to be eight hours of not bad home life for them.”
She said she doesn’t need a thank you. She wants a classroom full of students ready to learn.
“It’s the best job,” she said.
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