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Monday, April 10, 2006 (read 1097 times)

Meet our Teachers: Salomé, head of Studies, don Quijote Tenerife

by Erin

Meet our Teachers: Today, from paradisical Tenerife, we talk with Salomé Torres González, Head of Studies at don Quijote Tenerife.

¿How long have you been teaching Spanish, Salomé?

I started when I was 22. I have left it to study during a couple of periods of my life, but in all  - 17 years!

What do you like most about your profession?

Two things. One, that I am constantly learning, you are always learning things, getting to know people in a fantastic context.  Two, that it makes me very happy to contribute to the diffusion of my language and my culture. I believe that the 21st century will be the century of human movement and I feel very proud to be participating in the work of getting people to understand each other better.

What do you do when you aren't working?

 I study alot. Right now I am preparing a thesis aimed at knowing more about how we learn. I also like to visit guachinches, which are like bodegas - wineries in the north of Tenerife – with friends, take a walk through the countryside full of vineyards, and enjoy nature. I love to fix broken things and restore antique furniture. And of course I dedicate a good bit of time to preparing the Carnaval.

Have you ever studied in another country?

Yes, several times.

Did you study a language?

Two. English and French.

Did you find it difficult?

It was more difficult emotionally than it was intellectually. What  I mean to say is that it wasn't that difficult to learn the language, it was harder to survive the insecurity, the embarassment, the frustration, the fear, the homesickness. But every day was a small victory and I almost always went to bed happy and satisfied. Today I wouldn't change those experiences for anything. They were the great periods of my life.

What makes Tenerife the ideal place to study Spanish?

All of the place are good places to speak Spanish; Spanish is a rich and varied language that doesn't only have one form, not even as written in books. In my city the Spanish is pretty and musical. We use the diminuitive a lot because we are very affectionate and friendly. We say "Relajate" (relax) a lot because more than anything we value quality of life and wellbeing. Well, and we have marvellous temperatures all year long, beaches, beautiful natural areas, rich and green…. Thousands of things.

Do you have a piece of key advice for the people who want to learn Spanish?

Yes: learning a language isn't a task with an end; it is a process, and as in all processes you can constantly change the rhythm and the direction, but the important thing is to enjoy and know that it isn't just about a language. It is a rich world; you can even select a different personality. It's fascinating.  

Will you tell us your favourite teacher's anecdote?

I had a student who had a good job, earned lots of money and lived very well. He had some prejudices about Spain (the image of Spain as poor and backwards). His wife had come with him, along with their baby and a nanny. One day he told me that he know that we were poor but that it seemed too much to him that the babies only ate potatoes, that in the pharmacy all the baby food contained potatoes, including the fruit baby food. I bet him a beer, and we went to the pharmacy after class. "See?" he told me, pointing at the word "Potito". After holding in my laughter, while drinking the beer that he had to buy me,  I explained to him that he had confused potito (little meal in Spanish) with potato (patata in Spanish). It was very enlightening for me. I was young and it was the first time that I saw how pre-existing prejudice transforms even the most obvious things.

What book do you recommend to the students of Spanish (intermediate level, for example) who want to read their first novel or first book in Spanish?

It's a little difficult but since they are short stories, student can enjoy it completely: "Mujeres de ojos grandes" by Ángeles Mastretta -  a marvellous Mexican writer.

Salomé has posted previously on Read more about Salomé, her passion for teaching and the don Quijote school in Tenerife her last post

Take a virtual tour of Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz, and the don Quijote school (or any other don Quijote school) here.

Keywords: tenerife,teachers,spain,schools,books


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