About me

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WHAT’S YOUR STORY (MORNING GLORY)?

Ok, I have been procrastinating long enough by now.  More or less, all my life.  I need to sit down and write my story, and participating in this challenge by Vicky Loras, whom I have just met on Twitter and already admire for her work and career, seems like an excellent way to start.  I am new born to blogging! And this will be my first entry.

I am 41.  And, like in the Oasis song “Morning Glory”, it might have taken me “a little time to wake up”.  Because I have recently discovered that I really want to be a teacher! And I truly hope it’s not too late
If I think about it, I have been teaching since I was a student.  I used to help my classmates who were struggling with English at High School in Madrid. I loved English so much I begged my parents to let me study abroad, until I eventually convinced them and I became a foreign exchange student for a year. I was 16 and a Senior at High School in the U.S.A.!
Assumption High School DiplomaIt was such an experience and I loved every moment of it, despite the times I felt a bit homesick.  I joined every single club, charity, association, sport team and event that I could, I made lots of friends and read every book I found at the local library.  At the end of the year people could not tell that I was a foreigner:  I had  finally become bilingual!
But when I returned to Spain, I didn’t know what to study at University.  At 17, my head was all over the place.  So I did what I was expected to do: I went to College and started studying to be a lawyer (you know, there are great opportunities for lawyers who speak fluent English).  Well, as you can imagine, it didn’t work for me. I quit my studies and a series of events dragged me from one job to another, from one place to another, for several years.  I stumbled and fell many times, and that helped me master two essential skills: picking myself up and carrying on.  I learned in my skin the true meaning of  the word “resilience”.
winter

Fourteen years ago, I was pregnant and jobless, but I stayed positive.  Lucky for me, I couldn’t find any job offers for administrative assistants (what I had been doing) at the time, so I had to ask myself:  What was I good at? What skills did I have that could help me get a job?  The answer came straight away:  I was good at English.  Besides, I have always been a cheerful, communicative person, and loved children and working with people.Nuria Mahillo English Teacher  So I started teaching one to one classes, that by word of mouth became group classes, and in order to have some “academic title” that proved I had an advanced knowledge of English, I joined the Official School of Languages (E.O.I.) of León, Spain, where I got my degree in English.  I didn’t have a clue about educational theories or teaching approaches back then, and I even lacked a lot of organization, but I had plenty of intuition and enthusiasm, and combining that with a great dose of love for my students, my classes were always different, engaging, interesting and exciting.  No one of my students failed English  ever again; furthermore, they began to love it.

I taught English as an extracurricular activity at Primary School, English for toddlers at kindergarten (starting at 2 years old!), a course of English for adults through the local Town Hall, prepared students to take official exams, I was a group leader at summer camp and even took kids to England in language trips. It was great!  But being a freelance teacher, I struggled to make ends meet during the long holidays when there were no classes.  Times were rough. I needed to do something else.

Then, destiny brought me to Ibiza:

Ibiza

I was offered a steady job in an important company as an administrative assistant and translator/interpreter for foreign clients.  With much sorrow I had to leave my students and my teaching career as I moved to this beautiful island to start a new life.  Since 2006 I have been working in the same office.  I have excellent colleagues and I have met some of my best friends at work.  But I always missed teaching.  Whenever I was asked to  help someone with English, I did it in my spare time, and during my maternity leave in  2009 I started teaching some conversation classes to a small group of students:  the flame was still burning.

I could hardly believe it when two years ago my company offered me to teach Business English to my colleagues after work:  now that was a challenge! and one I was so happy to accept!  I was back on track.

Two of my Business English students and colleagues

Two of my Business English students and colleagues

Teaching again made me feel butterflies in my stomach! My classes became the highlight of my day.  I realized this was what I wanted to do.  And I haven’t stopped since: this year I am also teaching English to teenagers at High School in Santa Eulalia del Río, where I live, plus two courses of English for adults and a group of English conversation, along with organizing social activities to practice English at the weekends as part of my project to make English a part of my students’ lives.  I just love it and I want to dedicate the rest of my life to teaching and learning how to be a better teacher.  And although I still work from 8 till 2 as an administrative assistant at the office, I know one day I will get it. And meanwhile, I will keep trying.

Yes, I am 41.  And I hope it’s not too late to follow my dreams.

I would like to finish my story with this beautiful poem by Martha Medeiros, which I dedicate to all of us who struggle in the way but finally break free:  Don’t die slowly!

…DIES SLOWLY

Dies slowly he who becomes a slave of habit,
repeating every day the same itineraries,
who does not change brand,
does not risk to wear a new color and doesn’t talk to whom he doesn’t know.
Dies slowly he who makes of television his guru.
Dies slowly he who avoids a passion,
who prefers black on white
and the dots on the “i” to a whirlpool of emotions,
just those ones that recover the gleam from the eyes,
smiles from the yawns, hearts from the stumbling and feelings.
Dies slowly he who does not overthrow the table
when he is unhappy at work,
who does not risk the certainty for the uncertainty
to go toward that dream that is keeping him awake.
Who does not allow, at least one time in life, to flee from sensate advises.
Dies slowly he who does not travel, does not read,
does not listen to music, who does not find grace in himself.
Dies slowly he who destroys his self love,
who does not accept somebody’s help.
Dies slowly he who passes his days complaining of his bad luck or the incessant rain.
Dies slowly he who abandons a project before starting it,
who does not ask over a subject that does not know
or who does not answer when being asked about something he knows.
Dies slowly he who does not share his emotions, joys and sadness,
who does not trust, who does not even try.
Dies slowly he who does not intent excelling,
who does not learn from the stones of the road of life,
who does not love and let somebody love.
Let’s avoid death in small doses,
remembering always that to be alive demands a much bigger effort
than the simple fact of breathing.
Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.

― Martha Medeiros

2 comentarios en “About me

  1. Pingback: “What’s Your Story” Is Up and Running Again! – A Blog Challenge With a Human Touch | Vicky Loras's Blog

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