In This Section
February 16, 2024

For Spanish Teacher Meredith Finch, they’re all teaching moments.


“Uno, dos … tres!” Spanish Teacher Meredith Finch delivers the count as, divided into teams, some students hurriedly draw pictures on her classroom whiteboard while others shout out guesses about what they’re seeing. When one group guesses correctly, but in English, Finch prompts them to translate: “Yes, but I’m not going to give it to you. En Español!” she encourages them, prompting a flurry of Spanish terms.

It’s a typical Tuesday afternoon in Schoolhouse for students in Finch’s Spanish 1 class, which she has taught since coming to St. Paul’s School in 2021. She also teaches Spanish 2, 3 and 3 Honors. She describes her teaching style and the tone of her classes as energetic, vibrant and exciting — words that describe her effervescent personality just as well. Around the grounds of St. Paul’s School, Finch is friendly, quick to say hello and easy to talk to. She beams when asked about memorable teaching moments with students. “I mean, they’re all teaching moments,” she says.

She describes a moment that had happened just the day before, when a student who has struggled with where to put accents on Spanish words handed in a test. The student asked Finch about a particular accent placement: “‘Is it here?’ And I checked and said, Yes! She said, ‘and this one and this one?’ I was like, You got it!” Finch says, her enthusiasm still fresh as she describes her student’s elation

Finch says that seeing the language skills of her students develop during their time in her classroom, and through the broader language program at SPS, is vastly rewarding. Students walk into Spanish 1 learning how to say “hello” and “how are you?” then leave Spanish 3 Honors fluent and doing complex literary analysis. At the end of each school year, her Spanish 3 Honors students write 90-minute essays on texts they’ve studied in class, often presenting theses or approaches to literature that Finch herself had not contemplated before. 

Students in Spanish 1 class

Seeing the language skills of students develop during their time in the classroom, and through the broader language program at SPS, is vastly rewarding.”

— Meredith Finch, Spanish teacher

If you had asked Finch in high school what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would have said a doctor. “My dad always told me he thought I would be a teacher, and I said no, you’re not right, Dad. I probably still haven’t told [him] he was right, but he knows he was.”

It was while spending a gap semester in Spain during college that Finch knew she wanted to pursue a career in languages. Upon her return to the U.S., she switched her major from biology to Spanish and sought out teaching fellowships as she earned a master’s in Hispanic Studies with a focus on Spanish literature.

At SPS, Finch’s teaching often extends beyond the classroom because of the benefit of living in a fully residential school setting. She finds ample opportunity to help her students practice the language through impromptu conversations while she’s coaching crew, having a meal in the dining hall, or during dorm duty in Brewster the all-girls house where she serves as an adviser.

“It gives you that extra opportunity to connect,” she says, citing the example of a recent exchange in Spanish in the Brewster common room about the girls JV hockey jamboree. “There’s a lot of talking there.”

And in Finch’s classroom, at least, there’s even some drawing, too.

Watch students play Pictionary en Español »