Students (or Why We Teach)

March 15, 2019 (Part Two)

This is my second entry for my first Friday in Morocco. It was a day that was worth multiple entries, for sure. After our trip to the mosque, we headed to the secondary school where our in-country consultant, Dr. Miriem Lahrizi, teaches English. Lycée Lamsalla was a magical experience for all of us. Here we were, thirteen American teachers thousands of miles away from our own classrooms, surrounded by enthusiastic and highly engaged students. This is why we teach!

Lycée Lamsalla

The students had prepared multiple presentations for us: research project posters in English, cultural presentations with food and drink, a Moroccan fashion show, short plays that explored controversial social issues, musical performance, and an art show that included portraits of us, we teachers from the United States. A young artist had asked Dr. Lahrizi for photographs of the visitors. He drew a portrait of each of us to present at our visit. He did this on his own time. There are no art, music, or drama classes at the school. All of these presentations were created from their own creativity and enthusiasm for our visit. It was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Here’s the artist. Can you find my portrait?

For the entire visit, I was in awe of these students. The Moroccan people are impressing me with their knack for hosting, their deep-rooted affinity for the arts, and their pride in their country and their own diversity of culture. This was such a perfect introduction into education in Morocco. Although faults were evident (lack of arts programming provided), the students were the rich resource that we all recognized from our own contexts at home. The youth of our world are full of energy and possibilities. What a day…and, yet, it was not over!


Most of the time, I am simply "Mrs. Olmos," a busy classroom teacher in a rural district in Southwest Washington State. I teach English, WA State History and Drama to students that range from grades 7-12. I believe in allowing students to use their own creativity and individual voices to enrich learning experiences in my classroom. A typical day in my room includes student-led conversations, collaborative projects, and art supplies. Beyond the classroom, I dedicate myself to many areas of educational leadership. Currently, I am a Fulbright Teacher for Global Classrooms and a member of the leadership team for the Washington Teacher Advisory Council. I am proud to be a National Board Certified Teacher, and a facilitator for National Board Candidate cohorts. Over the years, I have served on committees, panels and cohorts at the district, state and national level. My areas of interest include English Language Arts standards, curriculum and assessment, teacher preparation and certification, equity in rural education, project-based learning, and arts-integrated instruction. In my spare time, I have dogs, horses and and a husband to share my life on a small farm surrounded by green hills and rivers. It's a beautiful life.

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