What all good teachers have in common, however, is that they set high standards for their students and do not settle for anything less. -Marva Collins
Day 66 of 365.
A number of years ago when my oldest son started high school, a list was sent home to parents containing the names of suggested peer tutors for those struggling with their studies in Spanish. Among the names on the list was my son, Nick, which is, I assume, why I received the note. I glanced at it quickly at first and then noticed something striking. About 95% of the peer tutors listed were graduates of St. Louis de Montfort, the grade school my sons all attended. I quizzed Nick about it and he said immediately, “Oh, yeah, Mom….we are all WAY AHEAD of everyone else in Spanish. Turns out, Senor Ward is a beast!”
What makes Matt Ward stand out to me is the obvious satisfaction he gets in rousing interest in the Spanish language in his students, and his remarkable ability to convey to them the value of improving their skills. He’s empathetic with his students, he respects them, and he teaches with the belief that each one of the faces in his classroom has something special upon which he can build. He explains, he demonstrates and he inspires. His class is never easy, but he is always fair and encouraging. Also? He’s got a great sense of humor. He has the students call him “Don” Ward, (apparently “Don” means lord in Spanish). This is what I’m told. What do I know? I took French in high school. Mostly, I remember saying “Ca va bien” quite a bit. My teacher was definitely no Matt Ward. Anyway, I love the nickname Don Ward! It makes me giggle.
Several months ago, my middle son, a recent Guerin Catholic graduate, discovered that he was taking with him to Purdue fourteen (14) credits in Spanish. That’s a lot of college credit and Drew gave a great deal of the credit for his proficiency in this subject area to the years he spent with Matt Ward at SLDM. In fact, I am fairly certain Drew even sent him a note to say thanks. That’s an impressive display of appreciation from an 18 year old, German, and very stoic kid like Drew Thieme. It spoke volumes to me as a parent too!
Matt is a teacher for whom I have mad respect. He works very hard and his efforts have paid significant dividends in the long term for the Thieme boys. I’m sure the daily grind of teaching Spanish to grade school children must be in some ways exhausting and monotonous, but Matt? You are a GEM! You are an integrity-filled and high quality human being. You are kind and funny, never taking yourself too seriously. We feel very fortunate that our children have had the chance to learn from you!!
This evening in your honor, I am even going to try and overlook the annoying questions Zach will inevitably ask me about dinner IN SPANISH (because he knows I have no clue what he’s talking about) and therefore he feels superior. For one day only, I am going to be less bugged and more pleased that he’s interested in what you’re doing with the kiddos in your classroom. Tomorrow? Well, I’ll probably be back to rolling my eyes and asking him to translate to English!!
THANK YOU, MATT WARD for being exceptional! I am grateful for you!