Foothill’s new Spanish teacher: Jackie Pearce

Credit%3A+Rachel+Horiuchi%2FThe+Foothill+Dragon+Press

Credit: Rachel Horiuchi/The Foothill Dragon Press

Ema Dorsey

After Spanish teacher Steven Perfect left for Pacifica High School, Foothill needed a new teacher to join the Spanish department. Long time Ventura resident and ex-Ventura High School teacher Jackie Pearce came to the rescue. This quarter, she is teaching four Spanish 3 classes and two Spanish 2 classes.

Credit: Rachel Horiuchi/The Foothill Dragon Press
New Foothill Spanish teacher Jackie Pearce is a community ambassador who enjoys making positive change. Credit: Rachel Horiuchi/The Foothill Dragon Press

After Spanish teacher Steven Perfect left for Pacifica High School, Foothill needed a new teacher to join the Spanish department. Long time Ventura resident and ex-Ventura High School teacher Jackie Pearce came to the rescue. This quarter, she is teaching four Spanish 3 classes and two Spanish 2 classes.

Pearce last taught Spanish in 1999 at Ventura High School. There, she met Principal Joe Bova.

“He remembered that I used to teach Spanish and that’s why he asked if I could come over here, even though I hadn’t taught for 15 years,” Pearce said. “He kind of pulled me in like, ‘come on, could you please join us at Foothill and tie us over until June?’”

She said that her teaching contract ends in June. Pearce does not know whether she will return next year, because the contract will become public and other teachers will be able to apply for the job.

 

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Like many Foothill students, Pearce studied Spanish in high school. As a nonnative speaker she felt frustrated because she “wasn’t completely getting it.” In college, she continued taking Spanish classes and began traveling abroad.

“You can only learn so much in an hour’s time each day, so I decided to study abroad in Spain. And I lived an academic year in Madrid, and when I returned I continued to travel a little bit more.”

Pearce also studied in Mexico and traveled to other Spanish speaking countries.

“And then of course living here, I’ve continued to use some of my Spanish. But I’m still learning,” she added.

Pearce also noted the difference between a traditional Spanish class and Foothill’s Total Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TRPS) method.

“When I was teaching years ago, it was a different methodology of teaching, and they’ve changed it since, and so I’m learning how to use this new methodology of teaching a foreign language,” Pearce said. “TPRS is a completely new methodology and it’s great, but I’m learning it as we go,” she said.

During her 15 year teaching break, Pearce, a long time West Ventura resident, was busy working for the community.

Her hard work has not gone unrecognized; her desk in H107 is adorned by a large glass vase with the words, “Community Leadership Award, April 22, 2014.”

“I like to call myself a community ambassador instead of a community activist. My biggest accomplishment is that I got a park created, in fact I was recognized by the community foundation,” Pearce said.

“I led a grassroots group to use a vacant piece of property and [turned] it into a public space. It’s off of Ventura Avenue,” she said.

Pearce also helped create a social program called Laundry Love, which was “recently featured in NPR.” Laundry Love is a service that raises money for the poor to pay for the cost of detergent and other laundry necessities.

“I’m a long term resident of the Ventura Avenue area and I’ve seen needs and felt that it’s just kind of been my calling […] If I can [help], why not, so if I see there’s a problem I like to change it or if there’s something lacking I like to change it,” she said.

“I like getting involved in making changes that are in a positive direction,” she said. “I don’t like sitting back and complaining.”

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