Room 105

After being pulled from retirement, Profe Olivia Wylie emphasizes enjoyment in learning and understanding culture to create an immersive, collaborative learning environment for her Spanish IV and V students.


The sounds coming from room 105 carry strong through the halls: music ringing, kids yelling in Spanish and laughter bouncing off the walls.

Profe Olivia Wylie has been speaking Spanish her whole life. Growing up, she spent much of her childhood at her grandmother’s house while her mother was working.

“In my grandma’s house, it was Spanish, Spanish, Spanish, because she and my grandpa didn’t speak English,” Wylie said. “I grew up around it.”

Wylie traveled to Spain often and attended several years of elementary school there. Growing up in Spanish culture affected the way she views customs, language and teaching.

“[Profe’s class] is definitely the most engaging Spanish class I’ve ever had,” Tommy Simon, CHS senior and Spanish V student, said. “Profe really uses [her] background to enrich what she teaches.”

Before she began teaching at CHS in 2017, Wylie had retired. She had taught classes from sixth grade through college on three different continents: North America, Europe and Africa. She was pulled from retirement slowly, by first subbing to help out, then two years later was back to teaching full time.

While many traditional Spanish classes focus on conjugation and grammar worksheets, Wylie’s classroom spends time on Hispanic and Latinx culture, casual conversation and familiarity with the Spanish language. She bases her teaching on the Finland 33 method, a teaching style used to create a more joyful and well-rounded learning experience for students.

“I want my students to embrace learning,” Wylie said. “[Teachers can] take away the joy of learning. By using the Finland 33 system, it puts joy back into learning.”

Most of Wylie’s lessons are graded on participation; getting students to interact with each other and feel more comfortable with the language is her first priority.

“The best part of [teaching is] the kids,” Wylie said. “They make me laugh and enjoy what I do. They bring joy to my life.”

[The class] is a good mix of Spanish grammar and vocabulary and also using Spanish in a more casual context and learning more about culture.”