For Lara Roy, education goes far beyond what happens in the classroom. She wants her students to learn from the entire world. As a Spanish teacher at Dallas Center - Grimes, she has the chance to open that door for her students to the world of possibilities. Roy attended Simpson College where she majored in Spanish and History with an endorsement in Spanish education. During her junior year of college, she studied in Murcia, Spain for six months where she took classes in history and art.
Teaching is a family affair for Roy. “Teaching has always been on my radar,” she explains. “It seems like at least half of my family is in the teaching professor: my maternal grandparents, my mom, eight of my aunts and uncles, many of my cousins, and my younger brother. It was the norm in my family.”
Although education seems to run in her blood, Roy also recognized the aptitude she had for teaching on her own early on. “I have always enjoyed working with people, especially children,” Roy shares. “I began babysitting in middle school and volunteered at the church camp that I attended as a child. During my summers during college, I worked at that same church camp. I liked building relationships and teaching along the way.”
“I thought about teaching a variety of subjects before landing on Spanish,” she says. “I chose Spanish because I looked forward to the opportunities I could have by learning a second language.”
After becoming friends with several exchange students during high school and college and hosting one during high school, she knew she wanted to travel and study abroad. “Learning and teaching Spanish would allow me to understand other cultures better and travel to many places,” she says. “I wanted to share my love of exploring and learning with my students as well. Above all, though, I love the conversations that I can have with people because I can speak Spanish.”
While she had the opportunity to travel abroad herself, Roy wanted to share that experience with her students.
“This spring break, our French and Spanish programs combined forces to take 35 students to France and Spain,” says Roy. “I was thrilled to take my students to Barcelona and other cities in Spain. I got to see them use what they had learned in class with native speakers in real situations, not just the scenarios I set up in class. My students told me stories every day of how they used their Spanish. That, to me, is pure joy.”
Building relationships with her students isn’t just part of the job to her. Roy genuinely cares about the education and success of each and every one of her students.
“I love the daily interaction with my students,” she says. “I get to nurture them and watch them grow. I love taking them on the journey from the first days of Spanish I where all they can say is ‘Hola. ¿Cómo estás?’ to complete thoughts and conversations at the end of the year. And then in Spanish II, I help them broaden their vocabulary and learn more tenses.”
Sometimes, her students surprise her with the knowledge they’ve gained from her class, which makes her all the more proud.
“Just this week, a student told me, ‘Tenga un buen día.’ ‘Have a good day’ on his way out the door,” she recalls. “This was impressive as he used the command form of the verb that we had just learned correctly, and it came from a student that I didn’t think was listening to what I was saying. It reminded me that what I do affects my students, even if I don’t think it is sinking in; so everything I do I must do with a positive spirit. “Teaching is like planting a seed. I may not see it blossom in my time, but some day the things we teach may take root and grow.”
And that’s exactly what she wants to continue to do: plant the seeds and watch them grow, not only as her students grow, but also as she does.
Lara Roy lives in West Des Moines with her two brothers and a college friend. Lara swing dances in her free time and attends Lutheran Church of Hope.