Once upon a time ...
A story of how I swapped Prada for Playdoe, Gucci for glitter and Yves Saint Laurent for "Hurry up and put your shoes on!"
Every day is a school day. Since becoming a teacher I have seen the immense benefits of teaching through play. Not all children, myself included, thrive with the traditional teaching methods taught in school. During my secondary school years, I found it very hard to concentrate. Being stuck in a class room and studying subjects from a text book, left me feeling uninterested and uninspired. The focus always being on passing exams rather than becoming a well educated individual with an opinion, or using my imagination to dream bigger. However, fortunately for me, I have extremely strong, inspirational and determined parents, who made me believe in these great words:
You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
-Winnie the Pooh
Following my education, I moved to London to begin a very exciting and glamorous career in fashion. As a personal shopper, I worked for fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen, Lanvin and Burberry, assisting a vast number of Royals, celebrities and HNWI. This taught me to work at an incredibly high standard, with the utmost professionalism, privacy and discretion.
I soon realised that this profession was not purely about knowing the latest collection, but instead that it really all came down to psychology! The art of becoming a successful personal shopper, or any other client focused professional, is pre-empting a person's needs before they do; constantly going above and beyond what is expected. Understanding how a person is feeling, enables you to confidently provide guidance, ensuring your client feels valued and respected at all times. Ultimately, the most important thing is to enjoy the journey, to make sure every encounter is a magical one, one that will leave a lasting memory, and a smile on your face. As Maya Angelou said "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel".
I am incredibly thankful to these years for enabling such skills to blossom within me, along with many others, such as having enormous patience and being able to problem solve, no matter how big, small or unusual!
Now I should probably explain how I ended up 700 miles away using these skills to educate and care for children, while living truly ... happily-ever-after.
Following many successful years in London, I sadly experienced a few personal tragedies. Whilst this was a very difficult time, it did prompt me to step back and reassess what really mattered to me. So I decided to take a couple of years out to submerse myself in love, living back with my family. Whilst in my home town, I enjoyed being among family and friends, and helping them to care for their children. I was also empowered to create a befriending service, to provide care and most importantly fun, for lonely, elderly people living in my community.
Helping others made me so blissfully happy; it soon became clear that the greatest things in life are not things at all (although don't get me wrong, they are nice!). It's love, laughter, learning and nature that make my heart happy. So with this in mind, my mission was now to find a way to use my skills, creative flare, and loving nature to make a difference .... and what better way than through educating children.
Within a few months, I had moved to Barcelona to pursue a teaching and nannying career in one of the most vibrant cities in the world; a city with children at its heart.
My aspiration was to teach children English in exactly the same way a child learns to speak their mother tongue. Never from a textbook, being made to feel bored, and never stuck in a classroom. They learn because they want to, because they are captivated and inspired by fun activities, songs and stories personalised to them. My lessons allow knowledge to grow organically through play. For example at the park, the beach or shopping in the supermarket. For teenagers, it may be by learning the latest pop song, critiquing a computer game or learning to cook their favorite meal.
The first child I started teaching was through the agency 'Little Prince Nannies', an agency which I continue to work with today and highly recommend. This small 3 year old child confirmed what I believed to be my new life calling. Spending time inspiring, teaching and loving her made me more content than ever before. I continue to teach this fantastic little girl three years later and am constantly blown away by the progress she continues to make. She is now 6 years old and is able to speak English fluently!
My career then had a snowball effect following parents observing me teaching, personal recommendations, along with shining feedback received by the agency. I now teach numerous children English on a weekly basis, and have done for the past 4 years. Along with my regular teaching service, I have provided care to a countless number of families from all over the world during their holidays in Barcelona. I have also travelled to accompany families and children while on their holidays in other countries.
Spending my days making children happy and watching their progression has exposed me to a world of joy. Imagining what wonders this world holds for these educated, kind and confident children, or should I say what wonders they hold for this world, is by far the most rewarding part of my job.
While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.
- Angela Schwindt