Master Teacher - Spain 2017
Daniel Isenberg, Master Teacher
Greetings from Dallas, TX.  As the days get warmer, I’m realizing it won’t be long before we find ourselves traipsing around Spain together.  Some of us are wondering what the homestay families will be like, how much our Spanish will improve, what effects various geopolitical situations might have on our experience, or maybe just what we’re going to wear.  I’m looking forward to some tapas myself! 
I got hooked on languages in middle school thanks to a very zealous French teacher. By the time I got to Friends Seminary in Manhattan, I had done three homestays in different parts of France and was eager for more.    I chose Sarah Lawrence College because they have a strong program in Paris and sure enough, the junior year I spent there changed everything for me.  A year abroad is a powerful thing. I’m sure your experience this summer will inspire you to fantasize about your own future adventures living abroad!
After college, on the advice of a friend, I spent a year living, working and studying Hebrew on a kibbutz in Israel.  Talk about powerful experiences abroad.  A lot of my buddies at the kibbutz were from South America.  I had never given South America much thought but some Argentines changed that for me.  Next thing I know, I’m living in Buenos Aires, teaching English to professionals.  I spent almost two years living, working and traveling all over S. America, learning Spanish along the way. 
Converted from French fan to Spanish aficionado, I ended up continuing on to Madrid.  During the year I lived there, I found it fun and easy to get work, make friends, find an apartment or whatever it was that I needed to recreate myself en español.  By this point, I realized that despite the fact that I’d always said I’d never end up a teacher like my mother, I ended up a teacher just like my mother.  Oh well, sometimes you just have to go with it!  
I love English, French and Spanish, which was a perfect combo for someone who wanted to try Morocco on for size.  A lull in the work scene in Madrid prompted me to get a teaching job in Rabat and off I went.  Awesome.  I lived in a 14th century Andalusian style Kasbah, taught English and tried my best to acquire some basic Arabic. I’m proud to say I can haggle over the price of vegetables with conviction.
My experience abroad served as excellent preparation for a career in public education, which itself has been an amazing journey. Needless, to say, my mom is very proud of  the years I have spent teaching ESL and reading to immigrants and 1st generation students in North Carolina, and now Texas.  Along the way, I’ve become involved in parent education and immigrant advocacy.  I play guitar in a band.  I’m an avid home cook.  I train karate 3 nights a week.  Oh yeah, and when I’m not busy, I’m living the family life with my wife Shilyh (Dartmouth ‘96), and our two boys, Lucas and Zev.
I encountered the Rassias Program shortly after I returned from Morocco and was looking for a ways to keep traveling while still having a life in the US.  The trips I’ve led trips in Arles, France and Segovia, Spain were both truly fantastic because of the energetic, open-minded students in our group, as well as the warm, generous people we met along the way. There is nothing like summer en España.  I look forward to meeting you all on the ground when you arrive.  In the meantime, take care, study your Spanish and get in touch with me by email if you feel like introducing yourselves.
Dan master taught for us the last three summer in Gijón and before that in the summer of 2003 as well as in France. His kids are old enough now that he can devote a month to all of you, and they and his wife will join him just following the end of our program.  Word is his 12-year-old son is already fluent in Spanish.