I am a teacher! I continue to build myself as a person.
- Posted by: Raycho Chaprazov
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Theodore Asenov is from Montana and is 27 years old. He has been a participant in the Arete National Camps since 2012 when he was an 11th grade student. After that, he was a leader in the Arete Youth Foundation camps for several years in a row: in 2014, 2015, 2016. He completed his higher education at the University “St. St.Cyril and Methodius” in Veliko Tarnovo; and in University of Veliko Tarnovo, department of Vratsa, specialising in “Preschool and primary school pedagogy”.
What are you currently doing? Are you working?
As of today, I am in Montana, I live here, I work here as a teacher in the Secondary School “Nikola Vaptsarov”.
What was your motivation to study?
I wanted something different from what my neighbourhood offered and I knew that if I didn’t change it myself, it wouldn’t happen. So my motivation was to study, to invest in myself. There are many factors that helped me – myself, and my desires; the support of my family and all the training, on one hand, and everything I’ve experienced with Arete, on the other. They have contributed to my development.
What are your best memories from university?
There are many of them. But mostly, the time spent with my colleagues during lectures… in general, the time spent at the university was wonderful and I don’t regret anything.
Do you consider yourself successful?
Up until now, I am doing everything that gives me joy. I am doing well in school, doing sports, and travelling. So, on the one hand, dare I say, yes. On the other hand, there’s a lot more things I want to do, so I can’t say I’m successful for sure, but I know I’m doing the things that I enjoy.
Are you happy with yourself, with what you’re doing?
I’m happy that I am doing something meaningful. I get to work with all sorts of kids at school, and I think I’m useful to them, but there’s still more to work on. I also need to keep working on myself, to keep on building myself as a person.
What obstacles did you go through to get here?
Various obstacles – one would be deprivation, and I am talking about very basic things, I mean… I have been raised by one parent only. I’m no stranger to all deprivation and hunger. Limitations such as not being able to go on school trips, not being able to share what they have, and so on… Hardships build you up as a person, they build people, they make them stronger and better. So I don’t regret any of what I’ve been through.
Does being Roma help you in life?
I don’t know. In some moments, it does, in other moments, it doesn’t. But I’ve never hidden my essence. I don’t know if that has helped me or not, I don’t know. My school years were difficult, especially elementary school.
Do you have any relatives who have completed higher education?
Oh, yes. I’m not the only one in the family. My sister is a university graduate, she has a Masters in Psychology, I have cousins who are also university graduates. I have other acquaintances who are studying now.
What have you been able to take away from Arete?
Oh, when I hear “Arete” I think of the trainings, the camps, the good experiences. The many friendships… Only good things come to mind when I hear “Arete”. I am also very grateful for what they have given me in terms of opportunities, to me, to my acquaintances, to my friends. There are many things and they have also contributed a lot to my development.
Do you have a family ?
Not yet, no. But I definitely think about these things because I think that a man loses his influence after a certain age. This, of course, is my own perspective on it. I am certainly not pointing anybody out, but I definitely think that when some time passes, any man should have a family. Otherwise, people would not take him that seriously. It is very different when you hear that someone is a father, the head of the family, a person who more or less takes care of someone.
There are certainly many. The last time I attended a teaching conference, the quote that really stuck out to me was, ” Wherever you go, always go with your heart!”. It’s a Confucius quote.
Which of the Roma holidays is your favourite?
Definitely, the New Year’s holidays. The snow takes me back to my childhood. It brings back good memories. Sometimes it makes me sad because, somehow…everything has passed. Now, New Year’s is not celebrated the way we used to celebrate it, I don’t know what happened, but it’s not the same as it was during my childhood. I miss that a lot.
What advice would you give to the Roma youth who come after you?
To develop themselves. Whether that is studying or working. I advise them to do something, and not to stay in one spot; to do things that will enrich them; to do sports; to do things different from what the world offers today.
Author: Alexandra Antonova