It’s 8:30pm, on Sunday 21 May 2023. I’m sitting, alone, on a bench in Puerto De La Cruz, North Tenerife. The photo above is my current view. I landed just a few hours earlier.
By this time tomorrow, when this blog has been emailed to my subscribers, following a meeting with a Spanish notary, which will be interpreted by my translator (whom I’m yet to meet), I’ll be the owner of this premium English language school, here in this town – a town that I barely know.
Whilst pondering my unusual predicament, a white transit van, fitted with loudspeakers, crawls past me, electioneering. I love this place! The van is promoting the coalition candidate, I think.
Despite what Brits might think about Tenerife, I haven’t heard anyone speak English for some time. In a nearby rock pool two small boys are looking for treasure. This town is both familiar and unfamiliar. I wish that my family was here with me.
The scale of my impending obligation gives me pause for reflection. The academy, formed by a highly capable English couple 15 years ago, currently educates 90 students. My first task is to ensure that the high levels of tuition are maintained.
But what do I know about education? Not so much. Although my mum was a teacher, and my dad runs children’s nurseries. My in-laws were both teachers. And I used to work as a classroom assistant in Salford (before choosing law). And my awesome wife taught English in Greece. And I have trained hundreds of doctors, and represented dozens of teachers. But does any of this qualify me for this role? Only time will tell. Certainly, I don’t have any formal teaching qualifications.
Not too long ago, I was on other the side of the fence – selling my main business (although I had previously sold two other businesses). When it’s been your baby, I know that the founders will want to ensure that I don’t trash their legacy. That’s how I felt, for sure. If, for them, they felt like I did, the moment of sale is a time of melancholy. A time for pause. A time for freedom – freedom from obligation. I extracted no pleasure, no pride, from selling. For me, it was necessary – necessary laced with monumental sadness.
At times like this, I follow the Quaker instruction to “live adventurously”. I wonder what the Spanish is for that expression. My Spanish is too immature to translate it.
This purchase is six months in the making. It feels like the right thing to do. Logically, it makes sense, too. I do hope that this bold purchase works for me, for my family, for the founders, and for the students and for the teachers. Please wish this venture, luck.