She is part of the first promotion in Education from CEU Castellón. Specifically, Child Education. She works as a teacher, in a permanent position, in a Crèche (nursery) in Dublin. But no one said it was going to be easy. Her entrepreneurial spirit, her background, her bravery and her ability to learn – also from failures – have been, without a doubt, keys to achieve her goal: to find a job that makes her happy. And without giving up on new projects. Raquel Olaria tells us more.
How did you decide to go to Ireland?
After finishing my degree, I began to study a Master in Management and Educational Centres and, at the same time, I embarked in a project with some friends, but it went wrong. After that great disappointment, and with the very few job offers I had in Spain, I decided that what I needed to complete my training was to learn English, and that the best thing for it was to go abroad. So I threw myself into the adventure.
I arrived in Ireland to work as an au pair two years ago. My intention was to stay for a few months to improve the English and then return to Spain, but I found a job and I thought, why not give it a try? You’re always on time to go home if you see it doesn’t work. And it worked… I’m delighted with the job, I like what I do and where I live.
“There is always an alternative. And it is clear that sometimes it is scary. But sometimes you just have to go for it. You can always come back”
A good decision. Because, besides, you work as a teacher.
Yes, in a crèche (daycare Center) in the Dublin area. From the first moment they made me an permanent contract.
With good conditions?
Yes. Right now the Irish Government is supporting those crèches hiring graduates. That is to say that Spaniards who have gone to college, as we have a better education, have better chances. There are a lot of job opportunities here. And having a deeper education than the Irish, they tend to pay us more.
Any plans to come back?
Not for the moment. In the medium term, a few ideas come to my mind as to study the degree in Primary Education, specializing in special education. There are many children with special educational needs in Ireland and there is always work of that. Or start a PhD project. Or even try again on the business area… But at the moment they are just ideas and, before I go for them, I have to think them through.
“While we are studying, we have the impression that some of the subjects are useless but, when you start working, you realize that you are prepared for everything”
Has it been easy to adapt to a different educational system?
In Spain I did not have the pleasure of working as a teacher; I did only an internship during the degree But, in any case, it has not been difficult.
The truth is that there are quite a few differences. For example, children’s education is from 0 to 6 years old; the student-teacher ratio is much lower (the maximum number of students per teacher in children aged 3 to 6 is 11); and they work a lot with the Montessori methodology.
We work in projects that last a week. I teach children through art, all in a very manipulative way. For example, with different painting techniques we work with fine psychomotor skills, and thus discover new colors with the mixture of these or learn new vocabulary in both English and Spanish with each subject…
Interesting. Has the training you received in CEU Valencia been useful?
Yes. Sometimes, while we study, we get the feeling that some subjects (usually the ones you like the least) are useless, but then when you get to real life, you realize that they are useful, very much. You know what to do and how to act in each moment.
“To students in Education: enjoy the degree. I know that sometimes it is difficult because of the great workload, but this is the life of a teacher”
Has the training in entrepreneurship skills helped you on this adventure?
A lot. It has helped me to see that there is always another option. And it is clear that sometimes that other option is scary, because you have to leave many things behind, but you have to throw yourself in to it. There is always time to come back… It’s what I did: I went for it and things went well.
I think that these competences open many more doors to find the job that really fulfills you and makes you happy.
“What I value the most about CEU is the close relationship with the teachers, their willingness to help and the large number of practical sessions that help you understand theory better”
We continue in CEU Valencia. What do you value the most about your time at this University?
The closeness of the teachers, the relationship that is created between pupil and teacher (which still exists today), that willingness to help (even when you saw that they were snowed under with work), the large number of seminars and practical sessions that help you to understand much better the theory, the side activities that were organized…
These are just some of the things that come to my mind right now and for which I think that CEU is a great university.
And, of course, the friends I made while studying, which were not many, but the good ones, which in the end is what counts!
Any advice for current students of Education?
The degree, enjoy it! It is very beautiful and rewarding. I know that sometimes it is difficult due to the large amount of work and things to do, I’ve also been there, but that’s the life of a teacher: always with a thousand things to do and always thinking about what you could improve so that those children have a happy childhood and a good memory.
“For me, Education means sharing values, giving tools to students so the can face their own problems…making them happy”
Never stop learning, keep acquiring new skills…you will be thankful, and so will your students.
And, of course, do not forget about English! You do not know how many doors you can open when you speak different languages!
The last one: what is education for you?
Much more than a mere transmission of knowledge. I have always been convinced that emotional education should play a big role in the classroom and, unfortunately, it seems that it still does not.
So, for me, education is instilling values, giving tools to students so they are able to face problems, help them improve interpersonal relationships and self confidence … In short, train happy people.
Raquel. Thank you very much and keep discovering…
(She laughes) Thank you very much.