SIDNEY — After teaching Spanish for 28 years, Bethanne Spires is retiring from Sidney City Schools. Spires spent the last 25 years of her career at Sidney. Before that, she taught two years at Fairlawn High School and one year at Lehman Catholic High School.
Spires graduated from Wright State University in 1990, where she majored in Spanish Education. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Education and a Master’s of Classroom Teaching/Modern Languages.
Spires said her favorite part about teaching was inspiring others to love the language that she does.
“I was pretty lucky to have people that felt pretty strongly about Spanish,” Spires said. “So that was very fulfilling.”
Over the course of her 28-year teaching career, she said electronics was what changed the most, and had a big impact on her especially.
“Students want to use translators, and I am vehemently against that,” Spires said. When the students do use the translators, it was easy for her to tell. “They use very high level advanced grammar that I never even get to in Spanish IV. It’s pretty crazy.”
More than anything, Spires said she will miss the students that uplifted her daily and made it worth it coming to work and sharing her passion.
“I’ve been very lucky to have the college bound kids that are a little more serious,” Spires said.
Spires feels that one of her biggest accomplishments over her career was a mural project that was started in 2006. Students study Spanish poetry and then convert what they learned into a painted mural on her classroom wall.
“We study poetry and then we put a poem on the wall and do the metaphors,” Spires said. “We’ve done an eclectic bunch of poets and types. So that, to me, has been one of my highlights.”
The first mural that students painted in 2006 is still on the wall in her classroom, and she said it’s her favorite one.
“It’s called ‘At Peace,’ and it’s slightly ironic because it’s where I am in my life right now,” Spires said. “The poet wrote it about being at the end of his life, but it’s like this is the end of my school life. And I’m at peace with retiring, so that’s my poem.”
Spires plans to spend more time with her husband, Ralph, and her daughter, Brittany in retirement, along with her parents William Stamm and Barbara Carroll. She would also love to spend time traveling.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.