Adelphi University graduate Christina Campanile will teach English to Spanish-speaking students in Madrid for a year.

by Cecil Harris

“Spanish culture teaches people to live in the moment and have faith that everything will work out. That’s how I’m approaching this opportunity.” —Christina Campanile, M.S. ’13

After earning a graduate degree and a teaching certification at Adelphi University, Christina Campanile, M.S. ’13, found a job she loved—teaching special education students at a Queens, New York, public school.

However, Campanile wanted to broaden her perspective on education—and her experience in Adelphi’s Ruth S. Ammon School of Education encouraged her to embrace change. Hence, she left her job at P.S. 129 and will teach English to Spanish-speaking students in Madrid, Spain, until July 2015.

“I like to step out of my comfort zone,” said Campanile, who is teaching abroad as part of a program sponsored by the Council on International Educational Exchange, a nonprofit organization she learned about while attending Adelphi. “I know that I’m not guaranteed a job when I come back to New York. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ll be more skilled when I come back because I’ll be fluent in Spanish. Special education jobs are easier to find if you’re bilingual.”

A native of Merrick, New York, Campanile arrived in Spain in October 2014 with a working knowledge of Spanish, as well as an M.S. in Literacy and a teaching certification in literacy, birth through grade 12, from Adelphi. She had received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and teaching certifications in childhood education, grades 1 through 6, and special education, grades 1 through 6, from Marist College.

When time came to apply to graduate school, her choices were Hofstra University, Queens College and Adelphi.

“The people I met at Adelphi were a lot more cooperative than at the other schools,” she said.

Campanile spent two semesters in the Literacy Center, where she found a mentor in program director Maryellen Rafferty.

“She’s influential in the way I teach literacy,” Campanile said. “She’s knowledgeable about the profession and she’s one of the most organized people I’ve ever met.”

Rafferty said she has no doubt Campanile will continue to excel as a teacher.

“Perhaps because of Christina’s background in special education, she has that innate quality to know what children need,” Rafferty said. “She’s more sensitive to the differently able.”

Campanile also has enough self-awareness to know when it’s time for a change.

“Spanish culture teaches people to live in the moment and have faith that everything will work out,” she said. “That’s how I’m approaching this opportunity.”

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