The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Jack Shields

James Amstutz works to share his passion for the Spanish language with his students.

World Language: Mr. Amstutz

Several new teachers join the Benilde St. Margaret’s community every year, but not all of them have grown up in a foreign country and worked as a professional photographer. 

For the past three years, Amstutz has been teaching semester terms at different high schools around the metro. Beforehand, he was a photographer. “I liked my work and found great satisfaction in it. However, I finally came to a realization that I did not enjoy working alone,” Amstutz said. 

Sr. Amstutz grew up in Chile and lived there until the age of twelve. He then lived in the United States for 2 years followed by Buenos Aires, Argentina for 6 months. For high school he went to a small boarding school in Quito, Ecuador. After high school, he went to Gordon College located in Massachusetts where he majored in history. “I grew up hearing and speaking English at home and Spanish in school, church, and with friends,” Amstutz said. 

I grew up hearing and speaking English at home and Spanish in school, church, and with friends

— James Amstutz

For quite some time, the Spanish language has intrigued Sr. Amstutz. He enjoys reading newspapers and books in the Spanish language. Along with that, one of his favorite activities is watching soccer with Spanish speaking announcers. “I love watching soccer, but with Spanish speaking announcers. I love to hear how they speak,” Amstutz said

Education has always interested Sr. Amstutz. He is currently working on completing his master’s degree in education at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Before changing careers, he was in the field of photography and image retouching for advertising and packaging. “I love learning and I am still learning English and Spanish along with everyone else,” Amstutz said.

For several years, he taught 5th grade at his church. Additionally, he taught an ESL class for Spanish speakers. His love for languages has made teaching all the more fun. “My values as a teacher is for students to at least attempt at their work. Even if they may not understand it, I want them to attempt at everything,” Amstutz said.

Sr. Amstutz hopes to spread his love for learning with his students. He looks forward to continuing his journey as a new teacher at BSM. “I am looking forward to getting to know my students and help them understand Spanish. That is why I am a teacher,” Amstutz said.

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