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Interviewing Mr. G.

Isabella Callejas and Juan Sebastián Alarcón, DÉCIMO B

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Peter Giebink, also known as Mr. G., has left a lasting egacy here at CAS. From his arrival, he was known by his sense of humor, his creativity, his smile, but mostly, for his authenticity. Sadly, this chapter of his life has ended as he is going back to USA. That is the reason why we decided to ask him about his experience in Colombia, to which he defined it as “extraordinary, but far too short” He described the Colombo American community as “welcoming, creative and friendly”; it was an opportunity for making the classes more fun, and teaching, much more fulfilling. At the professional level, Mr. G. recalled the challenges of working with non-native speakers, and the teachings that working here left him such as adapting to an entirely different school system or getting to know a new, rich culture. As to the importance of having international teachers in our school besides the multiple benefits of having a native speaker, he said that “it is a unique opportunity to bring a new culture to learn an infinite number of things. Finally, Mr. Giebink left a message to the Colombo American community: take risks, believe in and challenge yourself on a daily basis.

Having heard all of what he had to say, we can surely say: “We will miss you, Mr. G.! “

This is what he responded to our questions:

Isabella: How was your experience at CAS?

Mr. G.: My experience has been wonderful but far too short. One year has gone by very, very quickly and I really wish I could stay an additional year, maybe years possibly, but it is too complicated to do that as maybe I explained to you in class. So yeah, the students are fantastic, great energy, great critical thinking and creativity, just generally fun to be around. I would say overall much better behaved than students I’ve had in the U.S. and far more interested in learning than some classes I’ve had over there which makes job teaching more fun and fulfilling. Of course and then, the group of English teachers, and teachers overall, the comradery. Just getting to know all the great teachers here has been absolutely fantastic; I’ve made really great friends very quickly and it’s just a very welcoming, friendly, you know, environment.

Juan Sebastián: To what extent did this experience enrich you at the professional level?

Mr. G.: Let’s see, well, I mean… certainly to work with non-native speakers has been really fulfilling, challenging and interesting, so that’s pretty fantastic! Well, I mean, certainly learning from all the other teachers has been fantastic. I mean, there’s, you know, some very different approaches, and I mean some of the more senior experienced teachers have certainly helped me a lot here as well, and I can say, adapting to an entirely different school system, that’s very different from the public school I was teaching at, just the challenge of adapting has been really interesting and fulfilling.

Isabella: From your perspective, why is it important for our school to host international teachers?

Mr. G.: Well, I mean certainly to have native speakers, I imagine that students like that, so they can hear all the cool slang that teachers from the U.S. maybe have, right? And learn from native teachers in that way. I mean, you know, obviously to bring culture and all the weird things that people like me bring: playing word music in class, dumb jokes, stuff like that.

Juan Sebastián: What would be your message for students at CAS?

Mr. G.: Well, certainly to challenge yourself and take as many risks as you possibly can, to try new things. In my very own life, starting as a filmmaker and a guy working in television, I had to take lots of risks and do new things that I didn’t think it would be possible. It is really amazing what you can achieve when you take risks and try something new. It was probably a great adventure, but probably a risk as well, but because the experience is so worthwhile and such a great adventure that it’s, you know, it made the risk worthwhile, the dangers and the troubles worthwhile. I mean, it’s definitely believing in yourself. I think it was just about having confidence, setting your mind on something, and doing it saying: “Nothing is gonna stop me”. Maybe, I’m not gonna be the greatest at it right now, but I can be. Imagine, visualizing yourself doing that thing, whatever it is.

 

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