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What keeps me awake at night: My Spanish dream has turned into a tragedy

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Being a PE teacher is something I have aspired to since I was five years old. I love immersing myself in new cultures, too. So it made sense to combine my passions by moving to Spain.

I began teaching here with an open mind. I had the idea that I was going to change the educational system, and provide students with more choice, opportunities and a future in a country struggling with an economic crisis.

But now I’m having to ask myself the question: has coming to Spain ruined my career?

After six successful years as a teacher and head of secondary, I was made redundant. So I started at a new school and decided to begin a master’s in education to deepen my knowledge. My aim now is to find a job where I can implement these changes.

I have filled out many application forms, only to be left disappointed. The British schools in Spain want someone with fresh UK experience. They have suggested that I return home, update my practice and come back to work for them (no thank you! I’d like to find a school where can I stay and grow. I will not use another school for their benefit).

The applications for schools in England have been worse: no replies, nothing; after all that time spent filling in forms, not even a “sorry you haven’t been successful” in reply.

Given my education and training, and considering my love and passion for teaching, do I just throw it away or do I stay in the hope that a school might see that I’m a good teacher and hire me?

I tell my students that education is the way forward. Never stop learning and gaining knowledge, I say, it opens the door to many things. Am I a hypocrite for saying this, knowing that one day they might find themselves in the same position as me, with a wealth of knowledge and experience but nowhere to go?

Katrina Wynter is a teacher in southern Spain

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