After University I secured jobs in Sales and Marketing, firstly for a kitchen and bedrooms company where I was quickly promoted to a managerial role based on my ability to train and motivate others (a teacher they called me). After that I was headhunted by a company who sold solar panels, they had been made aware of me by a previous colleague of mine and wanted me to train and develop their staff in a call center, managing over 40 individuals, ages ranging between 17-45. I concentrated on training, motivation and objection handling, but for me the most important part of the job was seeing people learn, watching their strengths grow and seeing the pride in their eyes when they started achieving results they had previously thought as just impossible targets. The problem in my opinion in many working environments is that people are promised guidance, support and training, yet in reality, in a busy, fast paced and driven environment, the likelihood of this happening isn’t always realistic. It was the most wonderful feeling to see people motivated and achieving their targets, but unfortunately, and beyond my own control, the higher management didn’t show such respect to their employees, those people doing their best to meet their targets, regardless of the obstacles in front of them. Those obstacles at times in such environments can be difficult to accept, especially when under constant and daily pressure to achieve the same results. As much as I appreciated and tried to applaud their efforts, my management wouldn’t accept anything less than perfection. This is something I do understand, as I strive for perfection in everything I do, however this was on a different level.
I soon realised the things that made me happy and that this was not the path or career I needed to be in. No matter how good I was at sales or marketing or how well I was able to train or make my team feel there was always somebody who implemented negativity within the team spirit I spent so much time investing in. Suddenly it was clear. I was a teacher, a tutor, a coach even. I loved seeing people exceed their own expectations of themselves. I loved the smile on their faces when they did so and the thanks I reviewed as a result of those achievements. I started to question what would make me happy, how could I keep this feeling of pride consistent in the people I invested time in? Nothing compared to that.
As I came to this realisation it was all very clear. Yes, I loved being a Tutor, something I did alongside my day job. Yes, I loved coaching football to children, again something I carried out during the evenings. Yes, I loved being a Nanny to the children I cared for whilst at University. I’ve always had a strong interest in foreign languages. Coming from a Greek family and being half Scottish I realised the importance of being bilingual at an early age, however being the child from a mixed background in my family I was teased for not being bilingual by the age of three because my parents split up and my Greek Father moved out. My cousins who were my age would make fun of my accent at times and I became very shy regarding my own ability in learning a foreign language. Even Greek school, which I attended at weekends much to my displeasure due to my lack of confidence in speaking, was difficult. All the other children in my class already had a good command of the language whilst I sat there trying to comprehend new vocabulary.
With all this in mind I decided that teaching English as a foreign language would be the most amazing and rewarding job opportunity for me. A combination of my skills and need to help others, in an environment that would allow me to sleep at night knowing I’ve made a positive difference to another person’s life, all without the complications of sales targets and commissions.
At this point I quit my job immediately and enrolled on a teaching English as a foreign language course, otherwise known as TEFL. I completed a 120 hour TEFL course which combined online and classroom learning and began to look into my different options in working abroad, as travel is something that is very close to my heart. Once looking at the options and weighing up the benefits, I realised that Moscow, Russia, was the place I wanted to make a difference. I began applying for jobs through different agencies and fortunately found a wonderful family who I am still working with to date. The children’s level of English was absolute beginner when I arrived and they are now nearly fluent. I feel so proud of what we have achieved together and amazed at how quickly they have learnt the language due to having a Governess with them full time. Their ability to learn and withhold new information never ceases to amaze me, as well as the way they have a true love for the English language now and understand it’s importance for them as they move towards the possibility of acceptance into American/British schools. Although it wasn’t their choice, they are grateful that they have been given the opportunity to learn a new language at such a young age. One of the children I teach often talks English in his sleep, that was an extremely proud and heart warming moment for me as his educator, knowing that even his subconscious is thinking in English!