Librarian, ELI Instructor Krasimir Spasov: 'I have always been passionate about teaching'
Krasimir Spasov, who has been an instructor at AUBG’s English Language Institute and a librarian at Panitza Library for many years, is now also going to teach an introduction English level at the university. He started his career as a school teacher in English and German in Blagoevgrad and says that teaching has been his calling since then. A passionate reader and researcher, Krasi is eager to share his knowledge with his new students. Read our interview to learn more about his academic background, work experience, and love for travelling.
What are the three most intriguing things the AUBG community should know about you?
To start with, I have always been passionate about teaching! No surprise to anyone who knows be, but after delivering my very first lesson in front of students, I felt that this was my thing. I am a very, very dedicated teacher, especially of languages, but not only! Also, I am an avid reader interested in a variety topics – from professional to fiction literature. And strange as it may sound to some people, I’m a very enthusiastic mountaineer. Being in the mountains gives me pure pleasure – hiking in the summer time, late spring and early autumn time as well as skiing in winter. The mountains is where I find peace and tranquility.
What is the adjective that describes your personality and why?
The adjective that fully describes my personality, I would say, is persevering. I’m the kind of person who always pursues his ambitions and gives his best to fulfill them. I truly believe that if you set your heart and soul on something and persistently chase it, you will achieve success in the end.
What is your academic background and experience obtaining a Master’s degree from Sofia University?
Prior to this, I obtained my Master’s degree in English Philology – my all-time passion. However, the Library duties and eagerness to develop inspired me to obtain a Master’s degree in Library Science from Sofia University. In addition to the official academic courses, I have learned a lot from the AMICAL Consortium, which our university is part of. Briefly, this consortium is an international network for sharing academic and practical knowledge. I’ve quickly picked up on the teaching of the literacy skills, which comprise information literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy among many other things thanks to AMICAL!
Which was your first work position? How has your career developed since then?
Funnily, next week on Nov. 26 marks my very first day entering the classroom as a teacher. I still remember that overwhelming feeling of excitement and anxiety; excitement, because I have always wanted to teach, and anxiety, because of my inner insecurities. My first job was at the Eighth Comprehensive School here in Blagoevgrad teaching mainly German. This was a stepping stone in my career as I was able to experience first-hand what it was like to teach. Immediately, I fell in love with the kids and the profession and my enthusiasm led me to join the local foreign language high school and ELI at AUBG.
You have been working in the English Language Institute at AUBG for more than 13 years. What has been your experience there?
In terms of professional development – very broadening! Being surrounded by experienced teachers of English and motivated students definitely improved my teaching skills. At a personal level, I have been able to find friends for a lifetime there such as erudite colleagues and appreciative students.
In what ways have your duties in the AUBG’s Panitza Library changed for the last 10 years?
Tremendously! Initially, I started as a circulation librarian performing basic services. What I loved during that time was the communication with the students – again, I was able to make good friendships with AUBG students. With time I realized I needed something more challenging and, luckily, I was offered my current teaching position. In the beginning, it was really difficult for me, because I had to win AUBG professors’ trust plus convince them that Information Literacy should be an indispensable part of their courses. As you can imagine, this was hard work that involved many other skills besides just teaching. My determination and willingness to create something meaningful led me to fully revamp our program as being embedded in the research courses. Today I am happy for having taken this bumpy road. And here I should thank AUBG professors, especially the ones from the English department, for their trust and support. Without their help, our program wouldn’t be what it is today!
As a librarian, you have read and recommended a diversity of books. What is your favorite book and why? If you have to describe your life with a book title, what would it be?
These are tough questions. Most of the books I have read are in a way dear to me, because of the knowledge and wisdom they have imparted to me. For instance, Dale Carnegie’s book “How to win friends and influence people” is a wonderful book not only for a personal read but also for professional development. I have learned effective techniques from it for making a better connection with the students. But the book that will always be dear to my heart is Dimitar Dimov’s “Tyutyun” (“Tobacco”) maybe because I lived my early life in a village as a child and because of the main idea in the book - the human beings’ spiritual transformation on the path to success; the torments of the personality of what is important – being loved or being wealthy. While reading this book, I could feel the main protagonists on every page… it was shouting to me: this is life!
You have managed to create diverse and useful database resources. What is your experience cooperating with AUBG professors and helping AUBG students?
Very rewarding! I have been and am still learning new knowledge outside my expertise. In order to collaborate with AUBG professors and assist our students better, I have had to learn unfamiliar terminology from different spheres, such as history, business, economics, etc. Thanks to AUBG and online courses, I have now grown to become a well-developed professional.
You are going to teach an introduction English level at AUBG as a professor. What are your expectations for this experience?
I feel excited about this new chapter in my career. So far I have experienced teaching at all levels, but this new opportunity will help me advance my techniques of discourse teaching in an academic milieu.
My biggest goal is to help students perfect their language because without a good command of it, they won’t be able to succeed at AUBG. Through a variety of grammar exercises, speaking and writing activities, I am certain that the students will both enjoy the course and learn a lot from it.
You know English and German. What are the other foreign languages you want to learn in the near future?
I have always longed for learning French, but, unfortunately, time limits have always stood in my way. But I am sure one day I will be able to learn it.
If teaching and working at the library were not your professions, what would have been?
Nothing! These are my two passions and this is all I have ever wanted to work. Even if I end up jobless tomorrow, I will always find a way to do what I love doing – imparting knowledge.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Besides reading, I love listening to music. You know what – I even listen to music while reading; it helps me concentrate better. I also enjoy traveling both in Bulgaria and abroad. Another favorite pastime of mine is doing renovations. This is something brand new for me and maybe stems from my curious personality, but I have always been interested in getting to know how you build concrete structures, how you support a construction so that it won’t fall, how you redecorate ceilings, etc. It’s something new for me, but I seem to enjoy it immensely as it gives pure joy to see something created by my own hands.