Feature Friday: Pat Brunelle

Pat Brunelle
“Teaching is just part of who I am,” said Pat Brunelle. Before joining Intercambio in 2013, Pat was an elementary school teacher, a middle school teacher, and taught English composition at Regis University. After she retired, Pat was introduced to Intercambio by her daughter, Jenny Desmond—current Events Manager at Intercambio. For the past two years, Pat has been working with a group of 6 students in Longmont.

What has been a memorable experience with Intercambio?
– A special time in our class is the celebration of birthdays. Everybody brings a treat so we have a potluck brunch, and we sit around and enjoy visiting informally, chatting and getting to know each other more. During those informal times, the students try to teach me some Spanish. They know I’m trying to improve my Spanish. We often talk about the food people bring. They tell me how they prepare it. One of these days we’d like to get together to make tamales because they want to teach me how to do it.

What was the most enjoyable lesson to teach?
– In one of the 2A lessons, we talk about vocabulary like bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen, refrigerator, and other furniture names. So I thought that could be a fieldtrip. In December, I invited the students to come to my house for a holiday brunch. I gave them a tour of my house which is an old country home out by Mead. They had a chance to see the kind of place I live in. It was fun to share that part of my life with them. I think they had a chance to feel like they know me better.

What has surprised you or what have you learned in your experience with Intercambio?
– We have many more things in common than we have differences. One of the things that has surprised me is how much fun it is to teach my students. We laugh and enjoy each other and learn English along the way. It hasn’t been work. It’s been the highlight of my week.

How has teaching with Intercambio impacted your day-to-day life?
– I think it’s made me much more friendly and able to connect with people of different cultures. When I’m going about doing my errands in Longmont, I feel much more like I want to engage people, even just to say “Good morning, how are you doing today?”