Feature Teacher: Amy Ferlauto

By Lucas Fischer | May 13, 2017
Amy Ferlauto

Each month we profile a different teacher in the Camden and Rockport public school systems so the community gets to know the strength of the teaching staff in the classrooms. These profiles are compiled, written and submitted by Camden Hills Regional High School sophomore Lucas Fischer.

“I’ve always been a Spanish speaker,” Amy Ferlauto said. Senora Ferlauto has taught Spanish at the Camden Hills Regional High School for the past 10 years. As a child, she spent her summers with her father in Puerto Rico and lived in California for the rest of the year. In Puerto Rico, she learned to speak Spanish at a young age.

Ferlauto didn’t study to become a teacher; instead, she studied to become a social worker. In California, she worked with gang-involved youth and their families. Having moved to Maine, Ferlauto worked with the Homeless Youth Outreach Project in Rockland to help homeless teenagers. After a few years, with the convincing of a few colleagues at the Penobscot School in Rockland, she found her passion for teaching.

She began teaching Spanish at CHRHS 10 years ago in a one-year substitute position. One thing led to another and she soon found herself a certified teacher. Being her tenth year at CHRHS, Ferlauto is clearly a teacher at heart. It is important to her that people understand that she didn’t initially study teaching. Instead, her love of the Spanish language and her training as a social worker led to her eventually transition into teaching. “I like to let people know that I didn’t study to become a teacher,” she said. “Instead, I became a teacher after being a social worker for many years.” That is a significant part of her background.

Last year, Ferlauto took a leave of absence from her teaching post and spent eight months in Mexico with her teenage daughter. She strongly believed that taking a year to live in Mexico would help her professional life and thus embarked on her eight-month adventure.

While in Mexico, Ferlauto spent most of her time in the town of Barra de Navidad. Every day, she taught Spanish at a private language school for foreigners. In the school, most of her students were from the United States and Canada. In the evenings, she taught English to locals. She felt that it was important for her to share her knowledge with the local population.

While she was in Mexico, Ferlauto organized a youth group to increase cultural awareness in teenagers. Her group met once per week and conducted many team-building activities with the underlying theme of cultural awareness. The group’s name, “Todos Somos Americanos,” which means, “we are all Americans,” reflected Ferlauto’s goals with the teenagers. “After all, America includes everything from Canada down to the tip of Argentina,” she said. Her teenagers learned about the music and culture of other countries in America. When it was time for her to return to Maine, the teens in the group were sad to see it come to an end. “That group of kids became very closely knit,” she said. “That was the most important thing I did there.”

Now that she is back teaching Spanish at CHRHS, I asked Ferlauto how her time in Mexico had affected her teaching ability. “I don’t think it necessarily improved my teaching ability,” she said. “I think it simply gave me a lot of perspective on myself. It helped me remember that I need to bring the other cultures to my students,” she continued. “With language-learning, culture is such a huge part of it. I like to help the kids see a bigger picture.”

“It is such an important class because it connects us to the greater world,” Ferlauto said, referring to Spanish language classes. She believes that learning Spanish, or any other foreign language, is extremely enabling and helpful in life. She also believes in the importance of having a deeper understanding of the world outside our small community. “I think that bringing a world-view to the classroom is really important,” she said. Focusing her attention on me, she said: “I feel like my role is not only teaching you Spanish, but teaching you how to be in the world.”

Camden Hills Regional High School sophomore Lucas Fischer is an intern in the superintendent's office.

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