Ross O’Brien, from Ireland, worked as Discover’s Head Teacher from 2014-2015
''I started in my role as head teacher in Academia Discover in February 2014 and it is hard to believe that almost a year has passed since I started working here. Working in Academia Discover is not like any other job I have ever had though - the whole ethos of the academy makes you want to improve and grow every single day when you walk through the doors. A combination of inspirational quotes dotted around the classrooms, dedicated teachers and passionate owners cultivates an extremely enjoyable and stimulating work environment.
Discover is not like anywhere I have ever worked before. It is a place in which your ideas are not only welcomed and listened to but they become reality. For example, we have differently themed events in the academy such as WOWness Week, Random Act of Kindness Week, Literature Month, Culture Month, Drinks/Games nights with our adult students etc. All of these ideas come from our teachers and are run by our team. This makes it a really fun and satisfying place to work as you get to share and brainstorm ideas with your colleagues, watch them grow legs and become successful within the school with the students. Believe me, nothing is more rewarding!
Discover has not only been a place in which I have grown professionally but also personally. There is a genuine emphasis on development in the academy and we have professional development sessions every Monday evening. These sessions tend to be geared towards the needs of the teachers on a week to week basis, brainstorming ideas, sharing concerns, discussing our progress towards our monthly targets and objectives in the classroom as well as honing and developing certain pedagogical skills such as different approaches to teaching reading, vocabulary, grammar, Cambridge exams etc.
On top of this, teachers are wholeheartedly encouraged to take the reins and run one (or many!) of these development sessions so that everyone is learning from each other, sharing ideas and techniques and taking on new challenges all of the time. This demonstrates the capacity within Discover to develop leadership and communication skills if this is something which appeals to you. We also have the chance to observe each other’s classes during our Peer Observation weeks. This is another excellent way to develop as a teacher and observations in Discover are not seen as a negative aspect of the teaching profession, but rather as an opportunity to grow and learn by being observed or conducting an observation yourself.
Coming to Discover is like joining a big family. The owners, Assieh and Miguel-Ángel, both teachers in the academy themselves, genuinely care about their team of teachers and every single student and their positivity is infectious. This is reflected in the fact that they organised viewings for apartments for me in Lucena before I had even arrived and subsequently accompanied me to see the apartments when I got here. Staff-bonding activities are also a priority. We have potluck dinners in the school where each teacher cooks something and we all eat together after work, we do Secret Santa, we go out for drinks and tapas, we go for picnics in the mountains, we visit the local spa centre – it is amazing what a close-knit team we are!
Finally, Lucena is a great little town to live in! It’s a typical Andalusian town nestled between olive groves and vineyards only 80km from Cordoba and 60km from Malaga. The cost of living is crazily low - rent is really cheap and food is normally free with your drink which means that saving is a real possibility here. There being very few foreigners here also means it’s the ideal place in which to learn Spanish.
All in all, I only have positive things to say about working in Discover. It really has been the best job I have ever had and I don’t think I’ve ever improved and developed so much both professionally and personally in such a short period of time. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work here and that I enjoy going into work so much every day. Not only that though, in the owners, the other teachers and our students I have made friends for life who help inspire me every single day and that is something for which I will always be grateful. A special thank-you to Assieh and Miguel-Ángel for giving me this opportunity and making me believe in myself. You guys are the best and I have had an unforgettable and life-changing experience working here. THANK-YOU! J