To most, Xove, is just a small town in Spain. To me, it’s where I grew with a community in the multilingual immersion program CEIP Plurilingüe Pedro Caselles Rollán.
C: Nothing will ever change what we accomplished in Xove. We will remember these experiences for the rest of our lives. I am so grateful to have had Marga serve as my mentor. I don’t know what I would have done without your kind heart and caring nature.
U: I can remember the first day like it was yesterday. The kids had made me a “Welcome Benjamin” sign. When I first arrived, I signed over 200 signatures for all the children´s books because they thought I was famous. My first task was to make a presentation about my home state. I set the stage repping my Georgia The Peach State presentation with Hotlanta and where the bulldawgs barked.
L: In time, I revamped the English program with new media tools such as Google Picasa/Google+, Pinterest Boards, a Cannon EOS 60D DLSR camera, Slideshare, and blogging. I taught the kids about American holidays like April Fools, Christmas, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. However, their favorite was the Mustache presentation when I participated in No Shave November. I made learning English fun through gamification like the Thriller Dance, an interactive whiteboard, & Cribbage.
T: I taught the kids about how Arnold Schwarzenegger could “get to the chopper” and bashed on why you should never call an eraser a rubber. I translated Gallego paragraphs into English in Mathematics, while challenging them to solve word problems and understand poetry. I played basketball with the kids time to time. “¡Machátate, Benjamín!,” they would scream in delight of my own dunk contest. I attended all of the kids plays and supervised field trips that consisted of cultural learning and crazy Spanish children singing. I took a siesta to escape from the children when I could or prepared my ears for the dreaded ruler slap.
U: I experienced our roof blowing off and the school flooding. I got schooled by kids in soccer, told I couldn’t speak Spanish, and played the guitar one day by surprise. I ate churros and chocolate and danced in a parade during Carnival dressed as a wizard. I worked in the dining hall with infantiles that could only speak in Gallego. ¿Quieres mais? The sound of the bell in the hallway with me yelling “¡Afuera de mi clase!” or the kids chanting “Benjamín” in el comedor to slap the top of the door is ingrained in my mind. I routinely grabbed a bite to eat in the comedor after and quietly listened to the other teachers speak in another beautiful language I had never studied — Gallego.
R: I broke down cultural barriers with Jeopardy and enlightening them what scattered “all the way hash browns” meant. I spearheaded an origami program with the young one´s and danced to music videos to create real art lessons. I drank coffee everyday with the teachers, while I tweeted out linguistic tweets. I showed the kids my travel experiences across Europe and had a special Christmas dinner with the teachers. I learned about the spanish singers the classes liked and formed collaborative Spotify playlists of 1,400 Spanish songs. The kids bestowed upon me bracelets and hugs in return like I was their hero.
E: I met the parents and gave private lessons to some of the kids after school. I took the bus, longboarded to school, and carpooled with colleagues. I translated my resume into Spanish, studied Spanish constantly, and improved my doodling skills. I finished my last days supplementing gardening projects and teaching vocab. The entire school was understanding when my father passed, made me a birthday cake, gave me a book of Galicia, and un gran miranda before I left. I have never felt so appreciated at a job in my life and have a newfound respect for teachers.
Only vivid and fond memories of my experience in Xove will continue with hope of returning one day. I saw the kids dance this summer in Viveiro to Galician folklore and it’s my favorite memory of Spain. I wouldn’t trade this last year for anything. Without the experiences I had there, I would never have understood how another good-hearted culture lives.
Google+ Albums & Google Stories:
- Recuerdos del Cole Xove
- CEIP Plurilingüe Pedro Caselles Rollán de Xove Excursion 1
- CEIP Plurilingüe Pedro Caselles Rollán de Xove Excursion 1 Story
- CEIP Plurilingüe Pedro Caselles Rollán de Xove Excursion 2
- CEIP Plurilingüe Pedro Caselles Rollán de Xove Excursion 3
- CEIP Plurilingüe Pedro Caselles Rollán de Xove Excursion 3 Story