September 16, 2020
Faculty Spotlight: Bella Purcell
Bella Purcell completed her Master of Arts in Teaching at Wheaton College in May 2020 before joining our World Languages department as a Spanish teacher. She has a unique global viewpoint, having grown up in three countries: Spain, the United States, and the Republic of Panama.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
My motivation to become a teacher was originally planted as a result of two deeply influential teachers. They vividly showed me how to love others like Jesus both inside and outside the classroom. These teachers graciously accepted and loved each person they encountered while also challenging them to become all that God purposed them to be. Seeing my teachers excel in loving Christ and showing that love through their passions sparked in me a desire to teach.
What are your favorite moments with students?
I love the moments when we can share stories or conversations that bring about laughter and curiosity. I believe those are the moments when we can develop a deeper experience of community together, while also knitting in memorable and impactful learning.
What is the most important life lesson you want your students to learn in your class?
A life lesson I try to weave throughout every subject I teach is that life is not all about us, or the “me.” A life focused entirely on the “me” is lonely, lackluster, and devoid of the joy and fullness found in Christ when we live in community. It also ignores the other and our call to love God and our neighbor in 1 John 4. In my class I encourage my students to always have their eyes on the “other,” whether that is the person next to us in class or someone in a country far away. We are after all learning a language that is not primarily ours. My hope is that this gradual shift in perspective not only deepens our love for Christ and His diverse kingdom, but also shifts our eyes from ourselves and more to Him and His heart.
Why are you passionate about the subject that you teach?
Teaching Spanish, whether Spanish I or Spanish IV, is inherently an act of teaching about my own culture, traditions, and language. I am most passionate about teaching Spanish because I get to be a tour guide, helping my students experience first-hand the cultures and customs that make up the Hispanic world. I am passionate about this process because, unlike most tour guides, my desire is for students to experience Spanish less and less as something foreign (and maybe sometimes difficult!) and instead something they can step into where they experience the richness of diversity in God’s kingdom.
What advice do you have for parents considering Christian education?
I would encourage you to prayerfully consider your desires and motivations for your child’s education. I grew up with the blessing of attending public and private schools while living in the United States and abroad. I truly do consider a Christian education to be the most holistic approach to developing children into mature, excellent, and passionate individuals. A Christian education does not regard life as a fragmented experience where God is isolated into neat little boxes, but instead it acknowledges there is nothing that is not permeated by His goodness, beauty, and creativity…especially academics! If that is something that excites you, then I think this community would be an amazing step for your family.
What was your favorite book as a child?
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Favorite book as an adult?
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
At Wheaton Academy, we believe that students grow to become like their teachers (Luke 6:40)—that’s why it’s so important that 100% of our faculty, coaches, and staff are empowered to speak Biblical truth to our students.