Wednesday, 25 September 2013

How I Became a Teacher

Deeper into the forest Photo Credit: violscraper via Compfight cc

I have a confession to make:

I didn't plan for this to happen. When I was a child, I didn't dream about becoming a teacher one day. My mother was a teacher, my two uncles were teachers and I was going to be something else. Anything else. Period.

So, how come that I have spent twenty-four years in the classroom and enjoyed every moment of it?

Well, it is very simple. Remember - my two uncles were teachers, my mother was a teacher... I am not sure whether it is genetics or destiny or something different altogether. I like to believe that, although I didn't choose teaching, teaching chose me.

I am probably lying to you, the way I was lying to myself back when I decided to study languages, just like my mother. I knew then that most language students end up as teachers (at least here in Serbia they do). I told myself that I was studying languages because it was a fun thing to do and I was good at English. Because I liked talking to people and because I liked reading. Nowadays I find it hard to believe that I never thought about what I was going to do one day I graduated.

True, though I kept resisting to teaching children in state schools, I made one small exception: I was willing to try teaching adults in a language school. And not just any school - I had my eye on the school where I now work. Because it was excellent and because I myself had been a student there and loved every moment of it.

After I graduated, I accepted the job of a substitute teacher in a state grammar school. I didn't like it there and I was glad when my colleague returned from her sick leave. I was now positive that I wanted to do something else, anything else. When the call from my dream school came, I was not too happy. It seemed to me that Destiny had its claws all around me again. Still, I was flattered. Not anyone could get into the Kolarac School of Foreign Languages. I decided to give it a try. One class, one week, or one month (if I could last that long) and then I would start looking for something else.

I would love to tell you more about my first two classes, about how one of my students (a total beginner) brought her two children to class because she had nowhere to leave them, about how the children sat silently in the corner drawing. I would love to tell you more about the discussions we had that evening in the upper-intermediate class and about all the clever, funny, deep things my students said. I would love to talk about the freedom my new boss gave me when he refused to give me any detailed instructions, but instead said: "Just show us what you can do."

Well, maybe another time.

I will just say that it was love at first sight. Destiny was laughing at me, but the laughter wasn't mean or ironic. I laughed back.

There's no place like home.

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