Teacher Feature: Ms. Andrea Veltman


Photo Credit: Ms. Andrea Veltman

Ms. Andrea Veltman’s laugh and warm greetings could be heard up and down the language hallway when students were there to hear it. Her room was colorfully decorated with Spanish art and cat memes depicting her many moods, as she has categorized them. 

She did not start out knowing that she wanted to be a teacher, in fact she played the violin and majored in music at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Texas. 

“I’ve been playing the violin since I was seven years old… Instead of putting me on medication, that was my medication for ADD,” Veltman said.

However, after college, making a living off music became very difficult, so she decided to come back to Virginia and earned a degree in teaching. 

According to Veltman, “I’ve always known I was a good teacher, since I’d been helping my violin teachers teach little ones from the age of 9 or 10.”

Rather than teach music, she decided to teach Spanish, which she grew up speaking. She preferred teaching Spanish than general music, saying that teaching general music just wasn’t her thing. She has been teaching for over 25 years, ten of those at West Po.

“I started at Sandburg, and was not happy there, I found out that there was an opening at West Po, so I jumped at it,” said Veltman. 

Veltman believes that the best part of her job is connecting with her students, and she hopes that she’s a positive influence on them. Unfortunately, COVID has made the way she likes to teach far more difficult than it used to be.

According to Veltman the best part of teaching for her is being able to be 1-on-1 with the students and explaining things until they understand things, which is no longer possible in the virtual environment. However, she believes that a return to school can be done safely so that she can return to her preferred method of teaching.

“You have to have common sense, take basic precautions,” Veltman said, “For me it’s just, I’ll wear gloves, I’ll wear a mask, I’ll wear a face shield, I don’t care. I won’t hug anybody, which is also very sad.”

According to Veltman, even after the pandemic is over and everything returns to normal, she will remain at West Po.

“I’ve been in other high schools and West Po just has a really good vibe, I like the diversity and I love my coworkers, we all get along really well, I absolutely have no plans of ever leaving West Po,” said Veltman.