I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the late 60’s and came to like English as a foreign language in a language school from my neighbourhood. As I grew older, I decided to become a teacher of English and followed the teaching path. I studied more than 7 years in a Teacher Trainers’ institiution called the ‘Instituto Superior del Profesorado Joaquín V.González’, located in the heart of Buenos Aires.
I think that the fact that it took me so long to finish my studies was that I did really want to learn in depth the complexity of this foreign language and last, but not least, wanted to know how to teach it properly. It isn’t casual that sometimes I got the highest marks….I worked my way very hard. When I finally got my degree (Shakespeare was the last subject and my last final examination…to crown it all) I was happy with myself and was ready to work on a full time basis.
And there I was, working full swing as an EFL teacher, both privately and on different state institutions when I decided to move to live in Catalonia, Spain, and particularly, to a small coastal town in the Costa Brava.It took me 6 years in total to convalidate my teaching degree to the Spanish ‘Licenciatura en Filologia Inglesa’, a degree which does not include a solid course in teaching Methods as I had previously studied in the Joaquín, but it does boast of subjects such as : ‘Lengua Española’ which I didn’t have on my academic background (though I was Argentinian and DID speak and write the language as a native! 😉 So, I had to pass an examination for Lengua Española and 4 other subjects in the Spanish universities.
Since I knew the requisites to become a secondary school teacher for the State included a command of Catalan, I started studying on my own to pass a C level examination in the University of Girona. Having grown up in a Catalan family in Buenos Aires, my toughest part was to digest and find explanations for the grammar, rather than the sounds or language flow. So, to understand the Catalan ‘clitics’ was my biggest challenge. My efforts were compensated when I got my Catalan certificate could finally gather all the paperwork and hand them in to ‘Ensenyament’, that is to say, the Catalan institution which depends from the Spanish Ministry of Education.
Being a teacher means you have to adapt to different teaching and social circumstances. Life still had more changes in store for me. After having happily taught for more than 7 years in Catalonia -and after 10 years of living in Spain- I had to be on themove again. This time was Mexico!
Now, just settled in, I wonder what paths will open for me. What I am 100% sure of is that I will have to become a learner again. Learn a new Spanish variety of a language, learn how to teach effectively to a new group of students, learn to listen to their needs, hopes and ambitions…In a word, as Kipling would say…learn about “the 6 honest serving-men” What, Why and When and How and Where and Who!