During my career, I have been fortunate to work in different places around the world, as well as locations within the UK. I’ve always valued the alternative perspectives this has afforded me.
One of the places I have worked was within the Spanish schooling system delivering an entirely different curriculum from that of the national curriculum in England.
Quite aside from language differences and curriculum content, the teacher “expectations” could not be further from what is widely regarded as the norm here. Let me run through a typical day.
8.30am – 9.00am Arrive at school ready for the day ahead. Normally go to the rec room to see if any of your standby “frees” are needed for cover – if not, these become ‘free periods’ of time.
A couple of lessons occupy the morning after registration. The lessons are taught from teacher books – no planning elements required at all; pupils have correlating books, so no prep required either. Marking is minimal unless an assessment assignment.
11am-11.30am Break. Staff called into the local café/bar and orders were already set out – the barman was brilliant in quickly remembering your order preferences. By the end of week one, I’d arrive to have a café cortado and toastados con tomate waiting. The break felt leisurely and never rushed.
A couple more hours of lessons resumed before the school closed for lunch.
1.30pm – 3.30pm Lunch. Plenty of time to head home or go to a restaurant, do a spot of shopping, or all 3… this is siesta.
A couple more hours of lessons before end of day.
5.30pm School Day is over – and four nights a week, that’s it. You go home with NO work to do, which enables plenty of time to enjoy evenings, do things at weekends and live life. One night a week the day ends at 6pm after staff meeting/training.
The downside of the curriculum is that it’s prescriptive by comparison. The upside is that there’s not the workload and training could always be achieved in a short time-frame.
With plenty of time for life outside of school hours, it was easy to achieve a work-balance. One week, my mother flew out to Sevilla for the first time, and I had plenty of time in the lunch breaks, evenings, and weekend to show her around.
Here there were new perspectives again.
My mother’s expectation or ordering a vegetarian cheese sandwich was not quite the translation she had hoped – plato de Picos de Pan y trozo de queso.
And don’t even get my mother started on what happened when ordering a white tea!!
Or how her feet were regarded so monterous in size for any of the Spanish fashions, she asked for the price of the shoe boxes instead.
Perspectives make us who we are and our career choices are enriched not just be the experience we bring but the perspectives we gain from them.
Working with a career coach helps you gain a different perspective on your career choices so that you can understand how and why you have made the decisions you have reached in the past, so that you can make better decisions about your career in the future.
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