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Educator opens up the world through languages

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By Janet Robb

TELL CITY - Every day, in some way or another, we deal with other cultures and languages. Whether it's something small like shopping or making a deal with a large corporation, language is an integral part of our lives and one local teacher strives to make sure her students don't lack.

After growing up in different countries and traveling with the military, Jeanne Sanders developed a knack for languages. Her travels are what motivated her to share her love of languages, leading her to get degrees in Spanish and French.

In 1985 she started her career at Bosse High School in Evansville before becoming Tell City High School's Spanish and French teacher. Here she teaches college-level Spanish through Vincennes University, two Spanish I courses and four levels of French.

Evelyn Lasley said she nominated Sanders because of the extra effort she puts in to help her students.

Sanders said she's trying to get more advanced-placement classes to prepare her students for college-level courses and many students test out of college courses once there. Some even go on to major or minor in French or Spanish. And for students who can't grasp new languages easily, she works with them in the mornings.

Her approach to teaching is more than grammar and vocabulary, Sanders said. "Grammar is boring," she added, saying she has students interact with each other through dialogue and class projects, including skits. Classes also watch movies to learn more about the cultures.

One project Sanders said students enjoyed was when they had to make a short TV program sharing the history of Tell City in French. Students enjoyed the whole process, from filming to editing and applying what they'd learned.

This summer, Sanders and her students will use their skills firsthand during a trip to France. "Students get really excited to go ahead and use the language," she added.

Students have also shown their appreciation for what Sanders has taught them by nominating her for Who's Who Among America's Teachers and TCHS Renaissance's Raise the Lid Award.

Sanders said in today's world it's important to know more than one language and she strives to make sure they're ready for the next step.

To nominate someone for the Hometown Hero Award, send their name, telephone number and a few words on why you're nominating them to Hometown Heroes, The Perry County News, P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586. Information may be e-mailed to lifestyles@perrycountynews.com.