New World Language teacher seeks to share culture, teach real-world language skills


Betsy Bertonazzi

New World Language teacher Agustina Harmon works with junior Lincoln Alston during a Spanish II class.

Amelia Sinclair, News Editor

New World Language teacher Agustina Harmon looks to share her culture and promote real-world language skills with students. 

Harmon grew up in Argentina and has traveled through Latin America. She takes great pride in sharing not only her culture with her students but also the cultures she observed throughout her travels. 

“As a native [speaker] that spoke [Spanish] all my life, I can bring not only the language but also the culture, and I think that’s a good connection,” Harmon said.

Harmon prioritizes sharing the cultural practices employed in different Spanish-speaking areas with her students.

“I think [learning a language is] important because [besides just] learning the language and being able to understand and communicate, you get to know about other cultures and you can make connections outside of your local circle,” Harmon said.

World Language department head Emily Squires shares a similar perspective and places emphasis on the power language has to connect people of different cultures.

“For me, the reason to learn a second language has always been to be able to talk to other people and make connections with them,” Squires said. “If you learn a second language, you have a lot more doors open to you and you’re also able to show somebody that you care enough about them and their culture to be a part of that language and culture.”

Harmon has wanted to teach since she was a young child. She’s passionate about being able to teach people new skills and help gain an understanding. To her, understanding language includes learning the cultural context behind it.

“[When you’re teaching] it’s not only about the content, but it’s about how you can apply things in life,” Harmon said.

Harmon has been teaching since 2000. Originally she taught private lessons and decided to make the switch to teaching in public schools four years ago. She was motivated to apply to work at Algonquin because she wanted to be a part of the teaching community.

Squires has been pleased with Harmon’s contributions to the ARHS community, so far.

“I think very highly of Mrs. Harmon; she’s been a very great colleague in these first couple months of school,” Squires said. “I’ve only known her for a few months, but she works well with everybody, she’s willing to collaborate, she has amazing ideas and I’ve learned from watching her classes…She does really great work with our students.”

Squires feels Harmon’s background in academic and cultural settings are invaluable to the school.

“I personally really wanted her to work here at our school because her teacher preparation program, that she’s in, is taught by one of the leaders in Massachusetts who has a lot to do with the writing and implementation of the new world language frameworks we have to work with now,” Squires said. “… Her supervisor is also responsible for implementing the Seal of Biliteracy, which we now have. So I know that Mrs. Harmon has a really, really good mentor…Just aside from that Mrs. Harmon is incredibly talented and capable and she does amazing work with her students in class.”

Harmon looks forward to watching her students further their understanding of the Spanish language and the cultures and says her favorite part of teaching is, “seeing the progress in my students, when they make progress and they connect concepts and ideas.”