Spak attack


From foreign student adviser to Latin 1 and Spanish 3 teacher, Lori Spak has always had a place in foreign language. Spak is the head of Spanish Honors Society and is very involved and in her department. Ever since she was a girl, she had multiple signs telling her she should be a teacher, but when did she decide to finally listen to those signs? We asked her some questions to find out about her career over the years and her experiences as a teacher.

When Spak was younger, she thought she wasn’t meant to be a teacher. In fact, she didn’t want to teach at all, but multiple career aptitude tests told her she was meant for the job. Spak has always had a position in education and worked as a foreign student adviser for a long period of time. However, when her kids were born, she decided to take up teaching.

“When I was a kid, we would take health classes for one quarter every year and they make you do some sort of career aptitude test. Mine always came out to be a teacher. I was like ‘I don’t want to be a teacher!’ And I wasn’t [at first]. When I graduated from college, I worked for 15 years as a foreign student adviser. I have always worked in education. I worked with international students and it was a great job, but then my family came along and so I took some time off to raise my kids. And teaching, maybe some of those tests had something to do with [me taking the job],” Spak said.

Spak enjoys teaching because she loves her students and being around them. Spak has taught students of all ages. She started as a substitute teacher, but soon realized she wanted something more permanent because she wanted the opportunity to get to know her students more.

“First I started out as a substitute teacher and I subbed at a Spanish Immersion Elementary School. Then I got tired of always having to remember all those names and so I taught at North Bethesda [Middle School] for three years and the rest of the time I’ve been [at WJ],” Spak said.

Spak has had a passion for foreign language ever since high school. She decided to pursue careers in this subject because it just felt right to her. Spak always was intrigued by Spanish itself and the culture that comes along with it. When it came to learning Latin, she took on the language for different reasons, but ended up finding a love for it.

“When I was in high school [Spanish] was the class that excited me the most. It made sense to me, I felt competent in it and it was always exciting. Then Latin I took because I didn’t want to take Physics. I was not a science person in high school. I took Latin and it was another class [I loved]. I loved Spanish for a different reason because of the culture and the music and the rhythm of the language. [With] Latin it’s like a big puzzle. You just have to unscramble it. You have to learn all these rules and figure [it] out. It’s like a code,” Spak said.

Spak is a teacher at WJ whose commitment to what she teaches is present whenever you have a conversation with her. You can find her in room G11!