Ricardo Calleja

Program Advisor

World Literature & Language

Why do you think professional development is so important for teachers?

Professional development (if done right) enriches teachers’ lives. It provides them with new skills, and ways of approaching their subject.

Tell us about your background and what brought you to Primary Source.
Working as a teacher since 1980, I have taught Social Studies, ELL, Spanish, and French, and have also tutored in the Humanities. I had to adapt to a new language and culture at the age of 12 and have traveled extensively since, which has made me aware of the difficulties and rewards of learning a new language and the importance of bridging cultural gaps.

I was initially drawn to Primary Source’s emphasis on global education. As a member of the book group for the past few years, I have gained new insights into many different cultures through reading and presentations, and have enjoyed the discussions with colleagues from different school systems.  Over the past few years, I have also participated in several Primary Source programs and have found them to be informative, thought-provoking, and enjoyable.

I received my B.A. degree from Boston University in the language and literature of Spain and Latin America. I also took several courses in Education, Methods of Language Teaching, French and Cultural Anthropology. At BU and UMass Boston, I took several graduate courses in Communications and in Writing and the Composing Process. For many years I was active in the Boston Writing Project and The Field Center for Teaching and Learning, both at UMass Boston.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I enjoy reading fiction and non fiction in English and Spanish, writing (poetry, short stories, personal essays and memoir), listening to world music, traveling, bike riding, and gardening. 

Where in the world would you most like to visit?
The places I most enjoy visiting are Santiago, Cuba, the city I was born,  and Miami, Florida, where my extended family lives.

Since retiring from high school teaching, I have been teaching courses in ELL to mostly Asian new comers to the Boston Area at the Lexington Community Education Program.  This experience has led me to develop a keen interest in Asian cultures and languages, especially Japan. I would love to visit Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea in the near future.