Spanish by Birth, Romanian by Choice

Mrs. Rocio Marti Alarcon introduced Spanish as a Modern Foreign Language (MFL) subject to the British School of Bucharest when she joined in 2008. She has previously taught in international schools in Madrid, Spain, where she is originally from but is now proud to call Bucharest home, where her eldest son was born.

Why did you become a teacher of MFL?

I think it was by chance! My main degree is in Pedagogy and years after I did my PGCE to become a teacher. I started supporting students in their learning but realised I also liked to deliver lessons too, so I carried on studying. I think it is a profession that has to be a passion, students deserve it. In addition, I am a proud Spaniard, so I love sharing the knowledge of a beautiful language and a great holiday destination!

What made you want to join BSB?

The challenge of starting a life in a country that I had never been to before. After a lot of research, I discovered that IKEA had opened a shop the year before so I knew I would be fine.

How has BSB changed through the years?

The campus has changed so much! There was no Ringwood, no Taylor, no facilities for the innovation Hub, Greenwich… there was no Takanaka either! I don’t know how we did it!

Which aspects of Spanish grammar frequently pose a problem to your learners, and how do you approach them?

Romanian and Italian students have a huge advantage over other nationalities. However, there is a specific noun – problema - that is an exception so it is not la problema but el problema. I always tell my students to remember that problems are always masculine.

What strategies would you use to help students who struggle with MFL?

Organisation and practise. There are great tools available now to help you revise – Quizlet for instance. It is essential to act upon feedback given in class so you can make progress.

What factors do you think might make it easier for students to learn a second language?

Never ever be afraid of using the second language in class! Just try and enjoy. Sometimes the connections you made are correct, others aren’t but you learn from that too.

What are the most significant challenges that teachers are facing today?

Technology is a double-edged sword. It helps a lot with practise, translation, games, etc. On the other hand, it is very frustrating to see students sneaking around online in lessons and do things that are not related to the task, or when they just use Google to translate their homework.

What made you stay in Romania?

I love the country and it is a fantastic place to raise young kids.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Having my three gorgeous boys.

If you weren’t a teacher of MFL, what would your dream job be?

A journalist for Lonely Planet so I can get paid while travelling the world.

And finally: tell us something unexpected about yourself.

I am dyslexic.