Teacher Tuesday: Ellen Schultz

Ellen Shultz is a Spanish teacher at Huron High School. This is her 23 year of teaching.

Courtesy of Shultz

Ellen Shultz is a Spanish teacher at Huron High School. This is her 23 year of teaching.

Daniel Lee, Staff Writer

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and what hobbies/sports you do.

A: “This is my 23rd year teaching Spanish at Huron. I really like Spanish; I’m still trying to learn more in Spanish. I have two kids who are seven and ten, so I’m busy with a lot of things. I like to run; I used to be a college runner way back. I’m not very good anymore. I still try to get out most days a week. That’s probably my main hobbies: exercise and languages. I like watching movies, reading books, my kids and my work, those are my main things. 


Q: What do you teach and what made you pick that subject?

A: “Well, I grew up in a really non-diverse area where we really had no one that spoke other languages but I was always very fascinated by people who spoke other languages. So, I was really interested in learning other languages, even from when I was very, very young. I took high school Spanish because it was the only language they offered in my little school. And then when I got to college, I knew I wanted to study more. So I kept studying and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a teacher or to even major in it. But then I went and I lived abroad in Chile for a year. And that kind of solidified for me that ‘ yes, I did want to do something with the language.’ And I decided well, I’ll try teaching and see how it goes and here I am 23 years later.”


Q: Why do you think learning a second language is important?

A: “I think it really helps you to understand and have a more open worldview like when you are able to communicate with people in other languages you can understand better where they’re coming from, you can learn more about them kind of on a more authentic level. It also would be a little bit humbling. There’s so many people in the world who are at least in our country who think that everyone should just know English. But when you realize how hard it is to learn another language you realize that that’s not like just something to just do. It takes a lot of work. So I think there are a lot of good reasons.”


Q: Is there another language you want to learn? 

A: “I just started learning Italian. I’m trying to self-study Italian. “


Q: Have you always been interested in teaching?

A: Well, as a kid, I maybe more as a teenager I thought ‘No, I definitely would not go to teaching’ as a lot of people in my family are teachers and I was kind of rebelling against it. But then kind of just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I ended up going into it just to see how it would go and turns out I liked it so I stuck with it.”


Q : Were your family members also high school Spanish teachers? 

A: “My family? No. Most of my family were English teachers or college professors.”


Q: Is there anything or anyone that inspired you to become a teacher?

A: “I can’t think of anyone specifically, I mean certainly I had some good teachers that I liked. I always had connections with my family and it was like something that felt comfortable because it was something I saw around me my whole life but no, there was never actually one specific influence.”


Q: Who’s your favorite / closest teacher at Huron? What are some memories with them? 

A: “As a colleague you mean?  I guess my closest friend here right now is Mrs. Balli. She’s also a Spanish teacher and mainly because we’ve worked together since I started here. She’s been here before I was, so we’ve known each other for so long. So yeah, just being with a person and in the same department they spend so much time you get kind of close to them.”


Q: What is your favorite teaching moment?

A: “That’s hard to narrow down. This has been more than one moment, but sometimes I have students who, at the beginning of the year, are either very unmotivated or have some kind of personality clash, and I don’t think it’s going to go very well with them. And sometimes some of those students who are the hardest, it seems like at the end of the year, the ones that I end up developing the closest relationship with, and sometimes have been the ones that seem really most thankful for the work that I’ve done with them. So that’s really rewarding.”


Q: What is one motto you will always live by?

A: ” I think one thing, especially now that I’m older, it’s not like a quote or anything, I’ve just really like as I’ve gone through life, just realize that it’s really important to understand that people are coming from different situations with different baggage and to try to be understanding and compassionate everyone you meet.”


Q: What are your goals for 2022 or your future in general? 

A: ” Well, I know I’m going to be teaching a while longer even though I’ve been here. So I think one of my main goals is always trying to find ways to stay excited and keep things fresh for myself, and not feel like the burnout or that I’ve done this a million times to just kind of like find moments and new activities. To keep it fresh.”