domingo, 8 de mayo de 2022

Our City's Hidden Women

This project is the prideful and exciting outcome of a vague idea that has not left my mind

for the last two years. Ever since I finished my course in Tourism, while working as

a teacher as well. I knew I wanted to use my newly acquired knowledge about the impressive history of Pontevedra and “spread the word”, so to speak, to younger generations in an educational and interesting way. The podcast ended up being the perfect format to do it. Little did I know that the school happened to have a superb radio equipment available for the teens to feel like  professional reporters.

As for the feminist side of it, March was the ideal month to work on raising awareness about the urgent need to provide our students with female icons to have as example of what women can accomplish against all odds. Mixing those two topics, Pontevedra and feminism, resulted in the astounding project that 3rd ESO put together.

Working with each and every one of the students and getting to know them has been a real pleasure and I cannot put into words how much I have learnt from them and how much I have enjoyed the time we spent together.

They are the perfect example of team work makes the dream work. Their effort has paid off and the result, as you can see, is FAN-TAS-TIC. They're such talented people and I cannot help but admire them.

Once again, thank you, Arturo and Álex, Aroa P., Aroa T., Belén, Carmen, Estela, Leire, Lorenzo, Manuel, Marcos, Mariana, Olimpia, Pablo, Rubia and Taida, for sharing my journey and bringing out the best in me, both as a teacher and as a person.

Tatiana Lores.

Link to project outcome:


I enjoy having trainee teachers from Máster do Profesorado, because it is usually the refreshing moment of every year, as I observe their surprise while they realize that teaching is not always that hard; it can also become a rewarding task if you have the right concept, attitude and realism. 

In fact, realism could be this year's word. One day Tatiana, my trainee, asked me: "What do you do in order not to get unmotivated or upset?"  The answer came fast and easy: " being realistic". The question, obviously, came up after a rather discouraging class, in which some students had not turned up and the attitude of most of the attendants was passive, uncooperative. There is an English proverb which says: "you can bring a horse to the water, but you can't make it drink". 

If a student does not want to study or thinks that what you are teaching them is useless - and there are quite a few, who also state that grades are the only thing that matters and, therefore, learning is not their goal-, he will not do anything except talk and disturb. In those cases, the only thing you can do is try to convince, to involve them in the class routine, be a good role model of steady work and never lose good manners or your temper. And then, when their behavior does not allow a decent lesson, take the measures the school rules allow you to keep the group under control, so the ones who DO want to learn can work comfortably. It is that easy or that difficult depending on your sense of authority and personal skill to cope with these situations, which everybody can learn.

However, the main reason for my interest is that driven teachers-to -be usually come up with some new ideas and projects that inspire you to open new paths to practical and motivating teaching.

Here is the result of this year’s experience. I find it brilliant; congratulations to both the teacher and the students.

Arturo Neira

Tatiana and students

martes, 6 de julio de 2021

Sección bilingüe 3ºB & Trainee Vanesa Juncal

This year we enjoyed the company and work of a new trainee teacher.  Vanesa spent about 3 months with us and she had the opportunity to observe everything teachers and pupils have to do at school.  

It seemed her previous idea was quite different from what she found, especially because she was lucky to experience how a bilingual sections works.  She met  two groups of driven students with a very good level and doing different things at a different speed.

Of course, she chose one of those groups to carry out her teaching plan.  She had doubts about the possibility of doing everything she had planned in her ideal unit, with lots of innovative activities and a final project, where she wanted the students to create their own film reviews in the form of blog entries.

Finally, most common activities went really fast, faster than she had imagined, and they had time to do everything.  The last activity was learning how to subtitle film scenes.  Vanesa gave us a very interesting lecture on how to do it and the challenge of finding the correct translation for phrases or jokes.  We did not have enough time to do a complete work on this field, but anyone who wants to try it has the necessary tools to start.

I want to congratulate both Vanesa for her work and interest, for her enthusiasm, and the students for their great work this year.  The only bad thing is that they probably will not have bilingual section in 4th year, as there is not a teacher who wants to do the job.  By the way, congratulations to Bibiana, the biology teacher, who did a great job although it was her first year as a teacher and the difficulty of a bilingual group was challenging.  The result was great.

Finally, here is the link to the bog Vanesa created and where the students entered their reviews.

Only it is a pity I do not have their presentations, which were awesome.  

Good holiday to everyone.  I hope next year we can do nice projects, even without the bilingual section.

Links to reviews:

Vanesa's example: Peaky Blinders

Teacher's trial: Agatha Christie and the truth of murder

Students' works:


Vampire diaries

Avengers: End game

Stranger Things


Arturo Neira - 

1º D and E projects 2021

English is a tool that helps us to communicate with the world. In the third term the students of 1st BAC D and E used it to create amazing projects about different issues of their choice.

Dr. Mutka Panda

One example is what Antonio and Claudia from 1 st D did. They recorded a short video with the title The New Smile about the pandemic and the way it changed our lives. The video shows people with and without masks. They wanted to focus on how a mask distorts our perception of others and how different a smile is with or without a mask. As a soundtrack they read a beautiful poem about the ‘New Normal’ by Mukta Panda.

 Magazine frontpage.

1st E devoted their project to an online magazine. This format allowed everybody to talk about the topic they liked best with a sense of unity. We can find articles about Travels, Beauty, Sports, Spiderman, Books, Music, Arts, Television, Photography, Fashion, Psychology and Dance. I am sure you will find at least one you would like to read. They also put in practice their digital competence with some videos and video tutorials.
These two are just a representation of the hard work they did in these last three months. They also show that the best way to learn a language is using it, and better if you use it to express things you like. 

Well done!!!
The New Smile

A New Normal

Spring of 2020
Lives changed forever
The world truly as one humanity
Humbled to its knees
Yet united around one common goal
Pray, be present, protect, and preserve
Other priorities, other divides unimportant
Anxiety, fear, anger, frustration, sadness, grief
A myriad of emotions resonate
A humbling jarring reminder
Of who we are and what really matters
Our impermanence, our fragility
Our interdependence
All affected
No race, religion, gender, color or class
No discrimination
Only community
Only community
Committed to a CommonUnity
A new normal
A renewed respect for Mother Earth
A new respect for each other
A new hope
Of love, equality, care, gratitude and kindness
One united prayer
A better world
A new normal

~Mukta Panda

Marta Cuba ( Teacher )

miércoles, 19 de agosto de 2020

Graduation ceremony in Covid times with poem

Last 30 July, the students of Xunqueira 1 High School celebrated their graduation ceremony.  It was completely organised by the students, as the school and teachers decided not to participate, since the current situation would mean unacceptable responsibility in case of virus spread among participants. 


Actually, there were only 37 students.  Nevertheless, the ceremony was emotive.  First, student Lara Durán gave a really mature speech expressing her respect for all the fellow students and teachers who had not come to the ceremony, because everybody has their own problems, fears and views and we must be thoughtful towards them.  The speech ended with a touching “I got it”, dedicated to her father, who passed away last year. 

Then the representatives of the other groups spoke about their experiences at school, which expressed mostly their good memories and their love for the school, the teachers in general and staff – especial memory to Mar-, talking about their class fellows and recalling anecdotes.  Their words that conveyed gratitude and love for the school, the experience and teachers. 


I gave the last speech – as a teacher -, in which, apart from talking about the privilege of teaching the first bilingual section, I highlighted the fact that they had showed great stamina and maturity by successfully going through the difficult situation of the quarantine and such a long year till the ABAU test in July. I also recalled some memories from 3º ESO, when I met most of the students at the graduation, with whom I lived a really rewarding experience, and the trip to Dublin with some of them, which revealed the respect, affection and the feeling that they make things easy for us. 


As a father with three children in the working world for some years, I recommended them to make the most of the cultural and social opportunities the university life offers to improve their culture and social skills, as having a wonderful study report is not the only thing companies are looking for: being able to make decisions and a good team worker are qualities that are greatly valued.


The final part of my speech had a dreadful title:  An ode to failure, an awful title for a graduation, but I hope that, on the whole, it means just the opposite of what it could suggest.


Then there were the typical videos with music and photos.


Finally, I would like to comment on the Covid protocols.  It was perfectly organised outdoors for the ceremony, but I was really shocked when I saw the dinning tables, organised just as before the Covid.  Is it so difficult to have a bigger separation, especially when there is plenty of space? 


However, I must say that the attitude of the students and families was correct all through the ceremony and I had written my congratulations for that in advance, because I knew for sure they were going to behave that way.






An ode to failure


It’s failure, for a start, such an awful word

That in our country has an appalling fame,

It is like a stigma which you shouldn’t communicate,

For fear nobody will offer you work.


But just think it’s only my friends

The idea I often repeat in my lessons:

Learning usually happens after making plenty of mistakes,

As erring and solving your errors

Is the safest path not to make them again.


And in case you think it is easier said than done,

I’ll tell you that in my life outstanding failures I had some:

From failing a whole course at university

To being fired from my first job.


From the first I learned that calm and patience

Are fundamental and practical virtues.

That the strain to succeed is so exhausting

That can lead you to frustration.


From the second I discovered that some failures

Are a real blessing:

I got rid of a dreadful job

and studied to join public teaching,

which, after 38 years, allowed me to reach with illusion

This pleasant and cherished position.


We can think it is only good fortune,

And good luck is always necessary,

But when you go through several schools

And you enjoy being in all of them,

When you get on with your colleagues and mates,

If you are pleased with the students,

If you have no parents’ complaints

If you go to school with pleasure

And your work you are able to enjoy,

You will have to conclude

That from failure to failure

You have learned to fail,

Or maybe you now accept failure

As a natural part of your trail.


Oda o fracaso


É o fracaso, de entrada, palabra que soa terrible

E que neste país ten moi mala fama.

É case un estigma que non compre comunicar,

Non vaia ser que ninguén nos queira contratar.


Pero pensade, amigos, que non deixa de ser

O que na clase moitas veces repetín:

Nada se aprende sen meter a pata/ veces mil.

Xa que errando e solucionando os erros

É o xeito de non volvelos cometer.


E por se pensades que falar é máis fácil que facer

Direivos que na miña vida tiven sonoros fracasos:

Dende suspender un curso enteiro na universidade

Ata que me botaran do primeiro traballo.


Do primeiro aprendín que a calma e paciencia

Son virtudes prácticas e fundamentais.

Que o esforzo de non fracasar esgota moito,

E pódete levar ó fracaso.


Do segundo aprendín que hai fracasos

Que son unha bendición:

Libreime dun mal traballo, preparei unha oposición

O que tras 38 anos me permitiu chegar con ilusión

 Á situación na que estou.


Podemos pensar que é sorte, e algo disto sempre hai

Pero cando pasas por moitos sitios

E en todos ben che vai,

Se te levas ben cos compañeiros

Se cos alumnos te levas ben

Se non tes problemas cos pais

Se o instituto a gusto vas

E consegues do traballo desfrutar

Terás por fin que concluír

Que de fracaso en fracaso

Aprendiches a non fracasar

Ou máis ben a integrar o fracaso

Coma parte da vida normal.


Arturo Neira

martes, 4 de agosto de 2020