One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. - Shakespeare

My father always told me I was meant to be a teacher. He taught high school and elementary art and honestly, the last thing I wanted to be as a teenager or young adult was an educator. I spent so much time in my younger years searching for a different answer, something flashier and more exciting. Maybe an ethnobotonist? A farmer? A biologist? An anthropologist? I could work at the UN as an interpreter! A yoga teacher! I tried everything. All I knew, for the majority of my life, is that I would work with language. It is the only thing that grabbed me in school.

Whether that was studying German all throughout middle and high school or learning Portuguese as an exchange student during a gap year, Russian my first year of college and finally, not until I turned 21, Spanish. I learned at a young age the power of language when I would sing Zum Geburtstag Viel Glück to my grandfather on his birthday and see his eyes fill with tears of joy; that connection and motivation has stayed with me and has guided my life. 

Finally at 21, when I was just lost and floating through space without direction (am I the only one?), I listened to my father. I switched gears and started studying Spanish in a community college. I was hooked instantly and picked it up quickly thanks to the relationship with Portuguese. I finished my BA with a double major in Spanish and International Studies, and went straight on to get my Masters Degree in Spanish Education at Middlebury College. I had always wanted to make a change in the world. As a child of activists and educators, I was raised with a deep connection to social justice and a desire to create positive change and fight for equality.

Teaching became the best way I could think of to help be the change I wished to see and the first moment I stood in front of my students, I knew I was home. 

I have taught at both public and private schools throughout the country and loved bringing Spanish into a variety of classrooms from pre-k all the way up to 12th grade. Throughout all my time in the classroom, I was always fighting against the curriculum. I didn’t like worksheets, I made my students (yes, even teenagers) sing Spanish songs and dance around the room, and constantly found new ways to bring play into all of our lessons. I knew that one day I would branch off, start my own program or school, I just had no idea what that would look like or how it would happen.

As my online business grew, I longed to be with students in person again and I started Niños and Nature Forest School, an immersive outdoor early education program for children 2-6 in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to bring my love of Spanish and nature into the home of so many families, in person and virtually. It is an honor and a privilege that I will never take for granted. Thank you for being here with me, and I hope you love taking your Spanish learning outside with me!

Naomi Noyes

BA in Spanish & International Studies, MA in Spanish Education, and Certified Nature School Teacher with the Eastern Region Association of Forest Schools