Crystal Loetz has a refreshing approach to teaching and relating to her students. Honesty.
For the Spanish teacher at Broadneck High School, foreign language didn’t always come easy.
“In high school, many of my students are surprised to find out that I did not do well in Spanish,” Loetz said.
The longtime educator — 17 years to be exact — tells her students that she struggled in much the same way they do and how everyone doesn’t understand a foreign language right away.
“The reason I went into education with a foreign language focus is because I wanted to be the teacher that could tell my students, ‘Yes, I know this is hard, but it was hard for me too at your age, and here is what worked for me,’” Loetz said.
It wasn’t until Loetz went to college and truly understood the diverse cultures of the Spanish speakers that she was truly successful.
Loetz graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University with an undergraduate degree in rhetoric and communications with a Spanish minor. Once she saw how much she loved teaching Spanish, she earned her Master of Arts degree in leadership in teaching at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland.
Loetz began her career teaching at Magothy River Middle School for three years, followed by two years at Severn River Middle School. She has taught at Broadneck High School since 2010, her alma mater where she graduated in 2000.
“Crystal Loetz is a dynamic and engaging educator who builds a home for students in her classroom,” said Rachel Kennelly, principal at Broadneck High School. “She blends creativity with rigor and provides students with authentic experiences that enhance their knowledge of Spanish language.”
When asked what her favorite part of teaching is, Loetz shared that it’s the kids.
“They always have different adventures and successes that they share with me, from sports to music to drama and beyond,” Loetz said. “I love being a part of their lives and watching them grow into wonderful young adults.”
She said she always wants students to see how important knowing and using Spanish is in real life.
“I oftentimes use the example of my best friend who is a nurse in the hospital and how she needs [Spanish] on a daily basis,” Loetz said. “I then ask my students to raise their hand if they have a relative in the medical field and you can see the shift in their minds of seeing this as ‘just a class’ to an important life skill that can be used in a future career.”
Shelby Ledger, world languages department chair at Broadneck High School, shared how Loetz’s positive energy and rapport with students is unparalleled.
“On a typical morning at Broadneck High School, it's common to find waves of students stopping by Mrs. Loetz's room to say ‘hola’ and chat about their lives,” Ledger said.
Ledger also noted often hearing laughter and opportunities for friendly competition in Loetz’s lessons.
Teaching isn’t her only contribution to Broadneck High School. She’s also the Japan Club advisor, traveling with students to Japan three times and Spain once.
Her students tell her these trips were some of the best memories they had in high school.
For Loetz, honesty isn’t the only thing she prioritizes.
“To learn anything, you need to want to learn it, and you need to find the beauty in it as well,” Loetz said.
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