Congratulations to Virginia Alfaro, winner of the Promising Newcomer: Secondary Language Teaching award at Language World 2018, sponsored by Halsbury.
Kristie, one of our Language Tour Specialists, had a quick chat with her after picking up the award, to find out how she was feeling and what inspired her.
How do you feel after winning the award?
I feel really flattered – this is a really big thing for me, because now I think that after this award, as well as having the recognition from everybody, from such important people around me, I have something to support all my ideas and for my students to be heard as well. This is what we’re doing, this is what we need to share.
What inspired you to teach languages?
I have always loved languages, since the first time I had a text in English in front of me from a person I really wanted to read about. I decided, I don’t have a clue what this says, so I have to decode this and understand it. So, it was all this love and passion that made me think, actually, you know, I need to share this, otherwise, what else am I going to share, so that was probably it!
What have you learnt in your first year of teaching?
I have learnt that teaching languages is very hard and that teachers should be considered superheroes, or superhuman, because the amount of things we deal with daily is amazing. But, at the same time, this country is such a multicultural environment, with such a richness of languages that we should all value and that, as a languages teacher, is just a beautiful experience. So, I have learnt loads of little bits and pieces of other languages as well, and I have learnt that the more languages we know, the easier it is to share and the happier we all are.
Halsbury specialise in school trips abroad. What do you feel are the benefits of such trips for language students?
Well, obviously, as language students, they can immerse themselves in the language and that’s the best way of learning a language – having to use it to deal with life. But also, visiting other countries is a way of opening your mind and be more open to everything, including all the options and possibilities that are out there. And for all teenagers all over the world right now I think that’s super important. It’s essential that they see how big the world can be.
Are you planning to run school trips abroad for your students and have you had the chance to be involved in any within your first year of teaching?
Unfortunately, our students don’t come from very wealthy families so organising trips can be quite tricky sometimes, because they may not be able to join. We have been lucky enough to take students to Germany and Spain with an Erasmus Plus funded project, which was brilliant and all our students keep asking us ‘when are we going to go back to Spain?’. So, we really want to keep moving forward and keep trying to find ways to take them abroad at every opportunity. Now we have a contact with you (Halsbury), if we can try to organise something with you that would be marvellous.