Despedida a Señora Bullinger

(A farewell to our beloved Spanish teacher)

The Athenian: What first led you to becoming a Spanish teacher?

Señora Bullinger: My parents were missionaries, and we lived in Mexico. I always wanted a career path in Spanish, and teaching seemed like a natural option, mainly because being an international travelling business woman didn’t lend itself to having a family and raising kids.

A: What is your favorite memory from teaching at CCES?

B: When I had my first daughter Katie, one of my classes organized a surprise baby shower and created a Facebook page called “Bob for Baby Bullinger” to raise money to buy me this BOB brand stroller I had always wanted. At the baby shower, they gave me a gift card to buy the stroller–it was so cool.

A: What will you miss most?

B: I will definitely miss the students. I’ll never forget my all-boys class one year. These guys loved tapping on their desks, and I would always get on to them and nag them, “Stop tapping, stop tapping, no tapping on my desks!” One day I came into the class late, and they were all sitting perfectly quiet and well-behaved like perfect gentlemen, and then one of them goes, “One…Two…Three…” and suddenly they did this entire coordinated desk-tapping concert all to the beat. It lasted about five minutes, and it was SO funny. I loved it, and I will always remember that day.

A: What do you believe are the benefits of learning a second language?

B: I think that it expands your mind and helps you to think in different ways–to have a new perspective on life, if you will. I also believe that if you let it, it can really open up your ideas and your beliefs. Learning a new language helps you recognize that cultures all over the world are so incredibly diverse and that there are so many unique and wonderful ways to do things. I think the main benefit is learning to live and to have fun and to not limit yourself to only one American-Western way of thinking.

A: How has being a part of the Christ Church community impacted your life?

B: When I first arrived, I was so overwhelmed by how intelligent everybody was in the community. I was just so amazed. I went to public school, and I felt like I was very smart, but then I came here, and it was just shocking and awe-inspiring to see bright people. I was impressed by the students and also by my colleagues.

A: Is there anything else you would like to say, any advice you want to leave?

B: My advice is don’t sweat the small stuff, and enjoy life. I try to have a serious class, but I also want students to enjoy the learning experience and to have fun and not get so stressed out by Spanish. I didn’t want to overburden people with work. I wanted to give enough work to cover the material and to learn the important information but not give work for the sake of giving work.

I have been very thankful to have this job and have enjoyed the experience of teaching at this school. I’ve learned a lot from it, and I’ve grown as a teacher. I’ll tell you one thing: when I was in college doing my student teaching in rural New York, I taught a group of students that didn’t know where New York City was, or Buffalo, or Rochester. They knew their 20-mile radius, and that was it. They couldn’t tell you what states bordered the state of New York, what countries were in North America, they couldn’t tell you anything. And I did my student teaching. I was so shocked and had such a difficult time because they did not care at all about Spanish. I thought to myself “I have wasted four years of my parent’s money getting a degree to teach Spanish, and I don’t know what to do now.” But then I found this job, and I walked in, and it was a completely different world. I was so relieved and happy to teach, and I felt like I finally had a purpose again.