K-8th Grade Spanish
Blakely was born and raised in Helena, MT. She studied Spanish starting in middle school, and continued throughout college at the University of Montana. After a year on exchange in Durango, CO to study Spanish and economics, she moved to Guanajuato, Mexico where she lived and worked, attending the Universidad de Guanajuato. She graduated from the University of Montana in 2006 with a BA in Spanish, a BS in Business Administration, and a minor in Latin American Studies. After a few years of working in the financial planning and investment world in Missoula and then Seattle, she returned to Missoula to pursue a teaching degree. She received her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction to teach Spanish K-12. Throughout the years she has taught Spanish in many settings ranging from preschoolers at a Spanish immersion school to adults at a community college in Colorado and all ages in between.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in frequent, relevant interpersonal communication among students and a whole language approach balanced by creative and specific contextual grammatical explanation. Relevance is the key to learning in any subject, and I often incorporate local and familiar themes and contexts for students to interact with Spanish. Though communication is one of the main reasons I teach Spanish, the importance of being personally reflective about language and any form of communication is perhaps more important. I believe that living a respectful, reflective, inquisitive existence is one of the biggest lessons that can be practiced in school, and my Spanish classroom reflects that belief.
Is there anyone in particular who has inspired you as a teacher?
I worked at a very small, remote guest ranch near the Salmon River in Idaho for five years as a guide, server, housekeeper, baker, maintenance person, and do-er of anything that needed to be done. My two managers there taught me a great deal about ecology, teaching, and stewardship, and were my inspiration to start thinking about teaching as a career. They solidified my view of education as a necessarily relevant and experiential pursuit.
What do you love most about teaching?
I love to see students spontaneously and unknowingly interact with a foreign language. It is magical to see a child understand my questions or comments out of necessity without realizing it, or see them use a Spanish word because it has become easier to do so, instead of trying to think of the English equivalent.
What do you like to do when you are not teaching?
I like to read, cook, travel, spend time with friends and family and be in the outdoors running, fly fishing, hiking, and cross-country skiing. During the summers I work and live at a fly-fishing lodge outside of West Yellowstone.
Who is the person you admire most in the world?
I admire both of my parents, who are always challenging me to ask questions, think critically, and see things from different perspectives.