The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Staff Profile: The Spain-tastic Ms. Fox

Lindsay Augustine
Fox’s stuffed foxes can be found scattered around her class or on her desk. She gives them to students on test days to help them destress.

It’s been a long time since I’ve walked into Madeleine Fox’s class, nestled far up on campus in the U building. I would make the trek before 8:00 a.m. every morning – Fox wasn’t lying when she would tell my class that zero period (now seventh period) is only for the strong. As I follow a path that I haven’t in six months, Fox greets me effortlessly and enthusiastically, like I was just sitting in her class yesterday. 

Fox grew up in San Clemente in south Orange County, an area that gave her easy access to travel to Mexico. Despite sandy beaches and the sea beckoning, Fox felt the urge to leave her hometown. As such, for college, she moved out of state to the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied history – which might come as a surprise for readers who know Fox teaches Spanish at Carlmont.

Fueled by wanderlust, she chose to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain. She fell in love with the culture and language, finding joy in the simplest act, like ordering coffee in the country’s native language: ¿Me puede dar un café, por favor? 

This study-abroad program changed her life forever, and it’s shaped one of her main teaching philosophies – to inspire students to explore. 

“I want them to want to go to other countries – to try different foods, to talk to people from different countries, to read about different countries,” Fox said. “I want students to want to explore, to leave Belmont and San Carlos, and to be open to something different.”

While she moved back to the U.S. to work in high tech for a few years, the culture she had experienced abroad led her to seek out Spanish again, getting her master’s degree after studying in Madrid. On a whim, she decided to get her teaching credentials at the University of California, Irvine. She found that she loved her “clientele,” the students, which makes sense considering that she was a self-described “professional student” for longer than most. 

Teaching also gives Fox the flexibility she needs to travel in the summers. She’s been just about everywhere, including Argentina, Chile, the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, and Perú. Her Japan trip got canceled due to COVID-19, but she’s excited to re-plan that vacation. I couldn’t convince her to name a favorite location – she falls in love with every place she visits.

“Every place I go I really like,” Fox said. “You always can find something positive about a place. The problem is there are just so many places to go!”

Fox loves to view the scenery in each place she goes to – from the Peruvian mountains to her plan to hike through Chilean Patagonia to the trees planted on Carlmont’s campus. The landscaping is one of her favorite parts about teaching at Carlmont, next to her students and colleagues.

“It’s an exhausting job,” Fox said. “The breaks are necessary. But, at the end of the day, I like the kids. I like you guys.”

Indeed, Fox tries to fight through her fatigue for the good of her students, hoping that her enthusiasm helps bring some joy to her students who feel the same bone-tired exhaustion. 

“I know my classes are hard. I know Spanish is hard,” Fox said. “I know most of my students are not taking it because they want to learn Spanish but I hope my personality is fun. I try to make it as fun as I can within the parameters that are set by the curriculum.”

Indeed, some of my most prevalent memories of Fox are her dancing around the classroom after a Kahoot competition or complimenting her students’ outfits.  

“At the end of the day, I love the energy in the classroom and the students. I think it’s fun,” Fox said. “And I like it.”

My interview with Fox ended with a reminiscence of old memories, a deeper understanding of my-ex teacher, and a list of recommendations for how I could dive deeper into the Spanish culture. Fox is meticulous and passionate about the subject she teaches – so yes, not every student may love their Spanish class, but it’s hard to deny that I walked out of our interview more eager to partake in my current Spanish class the next day.

And, for those of you wondering, she recommends visiting Argentina (really everywhere, but Argentina wins for its comida deliciosa) and watching La Otra Mirada.

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About the Contributor
Lindsay Augustine, Highlander Managing Editor
Lindsay is a senior who has worked on Scot Scoop, Scot Center, and Highlander as a staff member and editor. She loves journalism because she has seen articles convince Carlmont to change its policies, making a change for the better. This summer she went to New York to work with the School of the New York Times and Columbia University on her journalism skills. Outside of journalism, she is involved in Girl Scouts, theater, Junior State of America, Key Club, and Site Council. Visit her portfolio here.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Staff Profile: The Spain-tastic Ms. Fox