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Meet Kathy Daniel

Posted October 10, 2012 in Community Featured

Kathy Daniel enjoys introducing new languages and cultures to her students.

Twenty-seven years of greeting seventh and eighth grade faces every morning has had a way of keeping Mrs. Kathy Daniel young.
“I love the kids; some of them are just so eager to learn, and even those that seem like they’re not eager to learn, you know that they really want to learn, too,” Daniel says. “You just have to get to know them, build relationships with them, and realize that inside every child is a desire to learn. We just have to get there sometimes.”
A Barnum native and graduate of Northwest Webster High School, Daniel started her college education at Mankato State in Minnesota but took a break to get married and raise a family.
“I was a stay-at-home mom, and I loved every minute of it,” she says.
As her own children grew, Daniel decided to head back to the classroom herself and earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Buena Vista University. In her nearly three decades at Phillips Middle School, Daniel has had to become one of the most versatile teachers around. She’s taught Spanish, German, French and even Japanese. She’s also taught Discovery classes and is currently teaching seventh grade speech and eighth grade Spanish.
“I’ve taught so many different things,” she says, keeping up with changes in curriculum and changes in the times.
Through it all, her goal has been to reach students and help them learn about new cultures.
“It’s fun to see the excitement in their eyes when they discover that they can speak another language. They get so excited to know that they can do it,” she says.
Along with the language, Daniel teaches her students about the culture and geography of other lands.
“It helps them to become more culturally aware,” she says. “It’s interesting to hear their ideas about culture and talk about things like that.”
An often under-appreciated aspect of learning a second language is a better understanding of one’s native tongue. By learning the parts of speech to required to speak a foreign language, many of her students are also learning a lot more about English.
“It really does improve their English,” Daniel notes.
Helping her students learn more about the world around them makes each day a new adventure for students and teacher alike.

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