Thursday, 6 July 2017

When I was a child, I did not know what I wanted to become when I grew up: a doctor? a vet?. Not even once I thought about becoming a teacher!. In my mind I thought I would rather be dead before I work as one.

I started the university at the age of 16 and was lucky enough to enter one of the oldest and well known public universities with relative facility in spite of the few vacancies and the high number of applicants. And I was so proud I got into the Biological Science School, a field I got to like when I was in my fourth year of secondary school and my teacher from San Marcos University-where I entered- introduced us, silly girls, to the world of the phisiology of living things. I could not dissect the hens, rats, chicken or fish she made us buy and take to school but I remember wondering about how all the organs worked and contributed to keep the animal alive. So it was natural to study to become a biologist as she was.

San Marcos is an ancient public university, the first one founded in South America and it used to be a beacon of political ideas and revolts and in the early seventies it was not an exception, there were always strikes to support teachers´unions, students´unions or workers´unions. In fact, the seeds of the terrorist movement that assolated the country a decade later were planted in this university and the number of strikes we had, made it possible that I studied another career: English language teaching. First, as a language student and then taking specialisation course to teach.

I was always good for languages and loved studying so this was not sacrifice, besides my Dad was passionate about learning English and had registered all his children in the Britanico for the summer classes.
During my training as a teacher at Británico I realised I could click with students and that because I had a good ear my pronunciation was not so bad so I decided to improve and studied and attended as many lectures and workshops as possible. 

Strikes at San Marcos finally stopped but I had got a part-time job as a teacher of English at Británico that accommodated well between my classes at the University. I still remember my first day of classes, my knees  and my voice trembling until I got so carried away in the activities that I forgot I had not taught before and fell in love with teaching. 

Since then I have had many groups of students that I loved and cared for very much. I was not an extraordinary teacher and even now that I look back I realise I could have done better things and my classes could have been more effective but I must have done some things well since until now whenever I meet a student I had taught before, they greet me with love and ask me to remember how good our classes are. My teaching at Británico were probably the best years of my working life; not only for how they hepled to become a teacher but also for the friends I made among my colleagues, friends that I still have and love. 

My teaching at different universities prepared me more for the administrative and academic skills I had to develop when becoming a coordinator and now that I am an Academic Director. Those years were useful and very well used but I do not look back on them with the love as I do with my first teaching years.

I do not teach students any more. For the past 7 years I have been working as a teacher training and the interaction is completely different since there is a lot of life sharing in our conversations now and it is harder for my trainees now to keep up for all the reasons: lack of time, life , loads of work, etc. However, and even if I have myself decided to reduce my workload, I think I will never stop teaching, I will never stop sharing if I still have something to share. 

With teaching, it is a life-time relationship: once a teacher, always a teacher!

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