Mathews shares love of language with English learners

Keilee Takata, Staff writer, editor

NKHS’s new English Language Learners teacher, Mrs. Nadya Mathews, developed her passion for language in high school when she began learning about linguistics and translation. Though she is now fluent in Russian and English and proficient in German, she wants to develop her Spanish as well as learn Arabic.

“Arabic is a very interesting language. You also read the other way [right to left]. Everything is different. It’s fascinating,” said Mathews. 

Mathews grew up in Ulyanovsk, Russia: a rural, southern part of the country, not far from the Caspian Sea and about ten hours away from Moscow. After receiving her first bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Russia, she began working as a translator.

Mathews said, “I worked at one of the departments there at the University — I was actually a translator of the medical texts, which was pretty intense at the time.” 

However,  translation was not a career she intended to keep forever.

“I think translation was not ultimately what I wanted to do full time. I had kids, too, and that kind of brought me into teaching,” said Mathews. 

After she earned her second bachelor’s degree in secondary English, Mathews started teaching a language program at a nonprofit sector at Roger Williams University, before teaching in Providence high schools, and now North Kingstown.

Apart from taking care of her kids, Mathews enjoys gardening in her free time, though if she had more free time she figures it would be spent picking up her guitar again.

“It was one of those high school things that [my friends and I] loved to do,” Mathews said. “I’m trying to get my kids to play, but they’re not interested in guitar.”

One of her biggest pet peeves in the classroom is kids using their phones and  social media during class. “A lot of cyberbullying happens that you cannot always see, so you have to be really careful,” she said.

Mathews’s favorite part of her job is helping kids.

“Especially in the occupation I work in — English as a second language — kids sometimes don’t know if they can ask for help and they really appreciate us being there to help them,” she said.