domingo, 9 de octubre de 2011

Blog Challenge. What's your story?

Here's another post in English in response to the blog challenge proposed by super tweep + elt teacher + blogger Vicky Loras. The point is writing about some kind of turning point in our life and/or career, so, I'm going to tell you about how I had to decide - in a matter of hours - whether to take up (again) a career as a secondary education teacher or to stick to a juicy full time contract at a graphic design studio. You know the end of the story, so here's a flashback to the beginning.
Right after getting my BA degree in Linguistics I moved to London so as to brush up my English and to earn some cash by joining the bar staff of a busy pub in Fulham. My parents weren't very pleased and, as soon as the oposiciones exams (in Spain, if you want to get a public-sector job you have to sit a highly competitive exam) were announced, they suggested I should go back to Spain and try my luck. I hadn't planned to become a teacher and, surprisingly enough, I was quite happy taking food orders and serving draught lager in the UK; nevertheless, I took notice of my parents' advice, did the exam and... passed it! As I had no previous teaching experience, I could not obtain a life-long position (that's the way it works in Spain), but I was soon hired for a whole school year. At first, the situation was kind of hard to handle: early evening shift,  teaching Spanish, English and some Geography, too, and most students older than me. However, I started to feel really at ease with my new job: I enjoyed being with students in class, chatting with colleagues in the staff room, lesson planning... Time flew by, school year ended and I had to take that hideous exam again if I wanted to remain a candidate; but, on that second occasion, I wasn't lucky and I did terribly bad at it. So, no contract signing for me :( and, as I had to make a living, I decided to move on. After working as a shop assistant in a toy shop and some English grinds, I was offered a job as layout artist in a graphic design studio; I really enjoy photography, graphic design and art, so I was really happy working in front of a computer resizing pictures, working on animations or doing some package design. And even happier as the number of customers grew and money started to flow in $_$.
Sometimes, the right decision is not the most obvious.

But there was something missing and, more often than not, I found myself thinking about my school days (as a teacher). Then, one day my boss told me they'd been thinking about broadening my contract, which meant better work conditions and higher wages. Great news! I could see myself as some sort of white collar worker, attending meetings and wearing ties. But there was still that little bit missing... Next morning - and that was a most amazing coincidence - I received a phone call from some school based about 500 kilometres north from where I was living then, offering a six-month substitution. I told them I had a job at the moment and needed some time to think about it and they replied they could not wait, so I was compelled to make a decision that very morning and call them back within three hours, otherwise they'd pass the offer on to someone else. I hanged up the phone, started sweating, went out of the office, kept on sweating, went for a coffee, ordered a beer and, after about an hour of thinking (not too carefully, to be true) over it, I made up my mind.
This blog is called Alumnos IES Fernando III (which means Fernando III School Students), so I think I can skip the rest.
Note to students: Read the text carefully: some comprehension follow up activities due in class soon :)

8 comentarios:

  1. Hi Paco!

    Thanks so much for taking part in the challenge - what an interesting story! And wow, what a difficult decision you had to make : ) But we are all happy you chose education!

    I wish you the very best in your life and your career, Paco!

    Kind regards,

  2. Hi Vicky!

    Thank you for proposing the challenge and for posting a comment. It is always very stimulating for students (and for me, too) to know that the class blog reaches beyond the class boundaries.

    All the best for you, too!


  3. ¿Qué significa esto?

  4. ¿No lo entendéis? Quizá el texto es un poco complicado para 2º. Vicky Loras, otra estupenda profesora que conocí en Twitter, de origen griego-canadiense y con una escuela en Lucerna (Suiza), propuso un "blog challenge", esto es, un tema para escribir un artículo en nuestros blogs. En este caso, se trataba de contar alguna experiencia personal que cambiara, de alguna forma nuestra vida profesional. Echadle un vistazo a lo que he escrito, a ver de cuánto os enteráis (no vale Google translator) y mañana lo comentamos en clase. La nota dl fianl del artículo va dirigida a los de cuarto sobre todo, que imagino que netenderán algo más el texto.
    Gracias por vuestro interés, chicos :)

  5. Hola Paco

    Muy interesante! Thank you for sharing this great story. Sometimes life is all about making the right choices. I think you definitely answered to your true calling. I am sure your other skills come in very handy in your teaching, so it is all a valuable cycle of events in the end.



    Hello to Paco's students

    Nice to meet you on this blog. Have fun and enjoy your English classes. They are the gateway to your future....

  6. Thank you for your comment, Janet, I'm glad you liked the story. And thank you for your encouraging message to my students :)

    All the best


  7. Wow! That's a great story! Sometimes your life depends on a decision you have to make in a hurry. In my case it was when I was thirteen years old. I went to the bookshop to buy my new books for 1º BUP and the assistant asked me which language I was taking, French or English. Up to that moment I had studied French at school, but I don't know why I said "English", and that decision has marked my whole life: I'm an English teacher now.
    Thanks for a wonderful story!