I remember vividly the first time I taught a class. It was the summer of 1992 at the Universidad Laboral in Gijón, Asturias, as part of the Spanish Language and Cultural Studies Program hosted for European students by Universidad de Oviedo. The anticipation and anxiety I felt then still reverberate in my practices today. First day of school will always be an exhilarating event for me!
As I was preparing to meet my students at Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University (SPbPU), my mind was racing to the speed of sound and my heart was pounding: would I be able to connect with their hearts? would the material I curated for them with such care be appealing? how would I manage to engage every learner in our conversations?
and with this prelude, SPbPU students began to share insights about their lives and their dreams, some with more confidence than others, but all with an elegant cadence in the way they uttered the English sentences. I was captivated. They are linguists and study several languages, they have a deep appreciation for language diversity and understand that the world does not end at the Russian borders. They are willing to examine their own cultural beliefs in light of new perspectives, they are courageous. I feel fortunate to have such inspiring teachers!