From the Cold Landscapes of Russia to Sunny Barcelona: How I Became an English Teacher. by Anna Lahner - Original Siberia - Profesora de inglés en Barcelon

From the Cold Landscapes of Russia to Sunny Barcelona: How I Became an English Teacher.

I’ve never expected to live in Europe, but because of a weird destiny twist, here I am. I’m a Russian who hates hot weather, but I live in Barcelona. I was always kinda scared of extreme sports, but it ended up being my drug. I wanted to become an engineer and never liked learning languages, but I became a professional in the field of linguistics. I’m cold and distant myself… but I ended up enjoying working with people.

When I was a kiddo and I was asked that typical silly question of “What do you wanna be when you grow up?”, my answer at first was “A Lawyer!” (must be read with a silly kiddo-voice)... Then it changed to “An Engineer!”, and didn’t change up to the age of 15… When I got a REALLY BAD Maths teacher. My favourite subject became my most loathed, he ruined my dream! But hey, this was the first time I actually learned how much can depend on a good teacher. Or a bad one.

 

When the time has come to decide what I want to do with my life, I was feeling quite miserable about myself, because my dream about getting into Engineering or anything related to exact sciences was ruined, my main hobby (graphic arts) doesn’t really pay off nowadays…

 

And the only thing that I was really good at and that actually paid off was the thing I always hated: LANGUAGES. I’ve never seen any logic in it or was any attracted to the field, but hey, it was pointless to deny the truth: I always had a talent in it. This is how I ended up in humanities-oriented High School. And that’s where I started seeing the charm of linguistics, I started actually enjoying all of it.

And then I got to the Translation and Interpreting faculty.

 

That was where I learned more about the good and the bad teachers, about the fact that knowing something does not equal to being able to transmit it to others. That was where my teaching career has started, and where I learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to learning… whatever, but especially, a new language. Or getting better in the one you already have but want to polish.

Let’s leave apart everything I have to say about becoming and being a translator, that’s another story. Let’s focus on the teaching field.

 

I never expected that I would like teaching. That’s more: I thought I don’t know how to do it! Guess where I learned it? At the gym. With the good and the bad coaches. Teaching is a skill itself, after all. It doesn’t matter what you teach, it’s about being able to transmit your skills and/or knowledge. As I got stronger and people started calling me “A Human Best” more and more often, more and more people started approaching me asking for advice. These were my first attempts to transmit what I learned in the Iron Room. If I say it wasn’t difficult I’ll be telling a lie: I was actually puzzled when I got to think of how to deconstruct a movement in such a way that someone who has NO REMOTE IDEA would understand it.

But it was actually interesting, it made me see the whole thing in a completely different way.

 

And then I got my first job offers as a language teacher. and yea: that gym experience was priceless. It was the same process of deconstructing something that was so obvious to me, but seemed to be some “Sacred Secret” for the other.

 

And as you may already know, perfection comes with practice. As I got better at it, I started liking it more and more. I started enjoying the process, and it also helps me with another thing I came to love: learning languages myself. And this was how such a hermit ended up working as a teacher.


 
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