Darlington School: Today: Curriculum Connections

Darlington School

Through the Eyes of a Tiger: An Interview with Ms. Willoughby

By Savannah Dempsey
1/20/2015 4:10:00 PM, 249 views

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Madison Willoughby has been at Darlington since August 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Berry College, and teaches economics and Spanish.

Why did you become a teacher?
I kind of stumbled into it. One day, somebody asked me if I wanted the job and I decided I would try that for a year. I ended up liking it a lot. I had many good teachers in high school that gave me lots of good examples of activities that I could do with the kids and I had lots of good role models to go off of. 

What is your favorite part of teaching? 
I love hanging out with students. When we get done with class early, I love getting to hang out and talk with them about what’s going on in their lives and get to hear about what they are doing in school and what they want to do in the future. It’s cool to be a part of that since high school is such a transitional phase and I have the opportunity to watch them grow up.

What do you love most about Darlington?
I love the community and the diversity: like that Wednesday when we had the Martin Luther King, Jr. chapel service, it was really cool to sit around and think about all the ways Darlington would be different if segregation was still part of our world today. Darlington wouldn’t be what it is today because what makes Darlington unique is its diversity. I was thinking about all the awesome students that wouldn’t be in my classes and some of the faculty that wouldn’t be here.

What are three words you use to describe Darlington:
Diversity, opportunities, community

Who was your favorite teacher in high school and why?
My favorite teacher was my English teacher, Mr. Pritchett. I had him for two years and I loved his class because we didn’t just sit there and read books. He made it really interactive. When we were reading Walt Whitman, I remember we marched out of class and walked around the building making barbaric yops. I would hang out in his room before school and he helped me decide which college to go to. He was the nicest guy I ever met and I still run into him sometimes whenever I go home. I was in his class eight years ago and he still wants to know how I’m doing and what I'm up to. He’s the kind of teacher that you didn’t realize you were learning because you were having a good time.

When did you start learning Spanish? Why did you choose Spanish?
I started in the sixth grade because it was the only language available at the time. After I started learning it, I picked it up pretty quick and I wasn’t quick in the uptake on a lot of other classes so it was fun to 1) be good at something and 2) be good at something that is so useful. I love Latin culture, the food and the music. 

How old were you when you became "fluent?"
I became fluent during college. I studied abroad six months in Costa Rica and three months in Nicaragua. It’s one of those things where you have to become fluent because you live with a family that speaks Spanish and you are taking classes in Spanish.

What Spanish-speaking countries have you traveled to?
Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic

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