28 de abr de 2010

My story about teaching (special to Naomi)

     Ok, let's say what there is to say about teaching in my life.
     I'm an English teacher (also prepared to teach Portuguese and Literature, Elementary school, too).
     But how did I come to be an English teacher?

     Since I was kid, my parents used to read to me before sleeping, every single night. I remember up to now the images in my Andersen's tales that Mom used to read. My father was a comic books fan, so he used to read a lot of Disney's, Marvel's and, best of all... Turma da Mônica, by Maurício de Souza. I fell in love with Literature since then, Andersen, Monteiro Lobato, Lewis Carrol, etc were my super heroes.
     When I was 4 my father taught me the alphabet and I started trying to read one of Mauricio de Souza HQ's and until the Sunday I could read the very first speech baloon entirely I didn't stop being so stubborn on reading. I was 5 by then, my classmates couldn't read yet, I was the teachers terror.
     As soon as I started reading well, I started teaching my dolls in my blackboard. The Alphabet, the numbers, some words (they didn't know how to read yet, I needed to go calmly, didn't I?). Since I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher, but I didn't even know by that time that there were lots of subjects to be taught! So what? I wanted it and I wanted immediately!
     As I grew, I became a compulsive reader. I can't stand a day without reading, it is a disease that I got from my parents. I read everything my hands could touch. When I was 11 I had two meetings that determined my future in my "teaching dream": Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo plus Juliet and Stephen King in The Shinning.
     My mother took me to the cinema to have my first visual contact with Shakespeare, because I had already read him then. It was the modern version of the tragedy, and I met Leo... he was the love of my life and I was going to marry him... crazyness... childish crazyness. I discovered an adress to which I could send letters, so I decided to write to him. But how could I? I realized he was not Brazilian, probably he couldn't speak my language! It was my obligation to know his language to say him how much I loved him! And... what if he appears in my house? What would I say! Oh panic!
     In the same year my father lent me a book he read more than 10 times... he challenged me! He said that I was not brave enough to read that book because it was too scary. I accepted the challenge... It was The Shinning, by Stephen King. I had no idea what was it about... I just accepted the challenge. I remember the cover, the colors of the letters, the fear I had to read that. I started that book more than twice because it was so scary for me that I had nightmares, cryed, etc etc etc. I was only 11! When I finally finished reading The Shinning, after almost a year afraid, I felt brave, I wanted more, it was so good that I couldn't have just one. I decided to research about Stephen King because I wanted to read him in his original language... and so he was North American, he spoke English. At that time it was more than an obligation, it was a life goal.
     I don't come from a rich family, I had no money to pay an English course. So I thought: I have a brain, a dictionary and English is all around. Let's try it alone, by myself. And so did I.
     When I was 14 I started High School in a program that prepares people to be teachers in elementary. I took it seriously and started working as a volunteer in poor schools teaching when some of the teachers were absent, I was a 14-year-old so proud of myself! By that time my English was improving so much that my diary was writen in English so my brothers couldn't read it. Nowadays I laugh at myself reading the mistakes I had (my English today is much better, but it isn't perfect yet).
     In 2004 (I was 17) I finished High School and was ready to teach kids. My English was each day better, Leonardo wasn't going to visit me anymore because I didn't want to marry him... and all the material collected about him was somewhere I couldn't remember. My readings kept the same and Stephen King was a constant in my life.
      The problem about working was: No vacancy, no chance. During a looooooooong period in my life I  worked as a baby sitter, as a secretary, as a receptionist. From 2005 to 2009 I was never unemployed, but it was not what I really wanted, it made me sad, but I never gave up. It was my dream, my goal.
      In 2006 I passed the "vestibular" (an examination for university entrancy) and started my graduation in Portuguese/English. As soon as I started, I started teaching English as a volunteer in a prep course for Vestibular that was offered to lower condition people. I was teaching English for the first time and I felt as I could change the world because I could teach English. 
     The English teachers at the university used to minimize me because none of them could believe on someone who learned English by herself. In their opinions (based more in theories than in practice) I couldn't have learned English by myself, it was impossible. I proved them I did, I had the best marks in all English subjects! I was known for being a King maniac and for my disposition to teach English when the main English teacher used to discourage us because we were first-year-students and we couldn't teach yet. No diploma, no classroom. 
     In 2007 I read my first Stephen King's book in English, my favorite one: The Green Mile. I cried a lot! Because of the story? Maybe... but I cried more because I made it! I wanted to read Stephen King in another language, and I did it... it was so incredible to me! I felt like I was a queen, but also like I was responsible to know how to manage this new knowledge. I needed to share it. 
     Finally, this year is my last year at the University because I postponed my graduation in order to be promoted in my last job ( I was a receptionist in an English School). The promotion didn't happen, I was fired and didn't graduate. Buuuut... my soul grew a lot the last year. 9 months unemployed, I got depressed, felt useless and used to spend my day sleeping not to see the day passing by. I was not volunteering and had nothing to make me busy.  Day by day I started recovering, I learned to crochet the year before and used it as a therapy... made lots of amigurumis as a way to make my day happier, read more than ever, helped my family and learned how I was useful... I was just unemployed, it was not the end of my life.
     I started sending CV's everywhere they could need someone able to speak English. Nobody called me. I had trainning programs in English schools, spent a lot of my parents' money and none of them hired me. When I thought nothing was going to change, someone I met when I was a teenager called me asking me to go to her job urgently, but she didn't tell me what it was about. It was a job for me! As an English teacher! A day later I was in the classroom teaching. I arrived home feeling prettier. As if it wasn't enough, a day after my first class, I received a call from a school that is almost in front of my job (so proud to say that). I had an interview two hours later and was hired in another job!  So I was an ENGLISH teacher from kinder garden up to 8th grade plus the English course! Detail: Those are the only two places I didn't send my CV... only by God!

     So, what I can say about my teaching story is: I already have taught people who went abroad ( I never did), I already taught native English speakers how to survive in Portuguese, I already taught kids to read and write and adults how to communicate better in other languages, I already taught crochet, how to use computers and everything I learned... The key is: FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS AND GIVE WHAT YOU HAVE WITH HAPPINESS. It makes you beautiful, it makes you happy and it makes your soul lighter and shiny. 
     My Mauricio de Sousa passion made me read. My Stephen King passion made me speak English. My will to share made me teacher. I owe a lot to these people and their works. My way to pay all I owe is giving it to someone else.  If a person doesn't take a passion seriously... there will never be a life goal.

 Crazyness? Maybe yes...



Specially to Naomi: never think I got close from you because of your father. I got close from you because of your life story, the great soul you have and the advices you are always sharing. 

Um comentário:

Leonardo disse...

Very nice testimonial! Cool.

Very good English too. Just replace the term "HQ" for "comics" ;).

Cheers!