For the past month, English Teachers in Spain, along with everyone else in the world, have adapted to doing things from the comfort of their homes. Teleworking, Skype calls, Freelance writing, and in some cases, people have had to experience the risk of going to work. We cheer and thank these people every single day. Every day life in Spain is not what we would normally experience. The novelty of tapas, flamenco, the travel possibilities, and learning a new language, is now on hold.
TEFL Madrid BLOG
I don’t think that I’m alone when I say that being in quarantine for the past month has been stressful and lonely, doing many things from home. One of the things that keeps me going is seeing the students I’ve worked with, and gotten to know over the past couple of weeks, months, and in some cases, years. I was happy to see that we’ve all been able to continue right from where we left off, without losing a single day. How is that the case? What was English Teaching like a hundred years ago? Did TEFL Teachers have access to the technological resources that we have today?
We’ve all had the proverbial night out where we go to our favorite restaurant (or perhaps some place you’ve never been to before), and went to see a movie. It’s certainly pleasant. It’s a night out. People don’t typically venture too deep into the unknown. Guess what? If you’re studying to get your TEFL Certification in Madrid, you’re already there. You’re in a new country. You’re surrounded by something new (which is ironically something old). Of course, you still want the creature comforts of food and entertainment. I say, give yourself the same…only different.
When you’re working with a student, or a group of students for a long period of time, or possibly for a specific purpose, it’s always important to ensure that they have certain skills. Let me give you an example. You’re preparing a student for an all-too-important scholarship interview that will see him or her going to Harvard University, arguably one of the world’s most prestigious and exclusive academic institutions. Hard to believe? They exist. Trust me.
As every TEFL Teacher might know, there are six levels of comprehension in the English language. They range from A1 – C2. A1 is an extremely limited understanding, and C2 is Operational Proficiency, and the student will have no problem producing language. There isn’t a week that passes when I don’t visualize the conundrum that TEFL Teachers face when they actively pursue and practice their Native Language as a career. It’s at the forefront of my mind as an educator.
Our jobs, first, last, and always will be to help learners understand the English language. That will never change. How we do that will certainly undergo a change over time with trial and error and further education, which can be synonymous depending on what happens. One of the things that I want to talk about is the importance of that little thing called customer service. When we meet a student, how we interact with them determines whether or not they feel that they can count on us for our services. Do we ever stop, though?
I’ve been living as an English Teacher in Spain for the better part of five years, and if I’m capable of finding something different around the corner after this long, then I found myself in a country that’s tantamount to a classic film. There’s always something different around the corner, and Semana Santa (Holy Week) is the time of the year when those differences come out in a week of solemn processions, and local traditions.
I always look forward to waking up in the morning, and seeing students in a classroom. Most people don’t particularly like waking up in the morning, but if it means that I get to do a job that makes me happy, I’m ready to handle any challenge that gets thrown my way. I tried to not pay too much attention to the growing fears of COVID-19 (or the more popular Coronavirus, as we have all come to call it) over the last few months.
For anyone who’s known me long enough, you know that I’ve been working as an English Teacher in Spain for the past four years (and going on five!). It’s been an unbelievable experience, and I’m looking forward to another four years of helping TEFL students achieve their goals in my classroom. When I started learning, and further understanding the mechanics of the English language, I didn’t think that I would be able to handle its complexities. I know that this next sentence is going to sound a little cliché, but it was like being back at University.
Looking beyond the initial stress and excitement of moving to a new country, you are fundamentally looking for a job. We all need to be productive. We all have bills to pay. So, why look for a paid job teaching English in Spain?
I don’t think that there was ever a single day when I couldn’t walk out of my apartment in the middle of the City Centre in Madrid, and not see the hustle and bustle of people living their lives. Cafés, restaurants, those guys who run around the city centre with cheap knock-offs of professional soccer jerseys, the ongoing tale of a city living its best life. I usually wake up early, and go to the gym first thing in the morning. I work out, get home, have breakfast, check my schedule for the day, and then it’s off to the Exam Madrid Academy.
Meet Allen, a TEFL graduate who’s been working in Spain for the past three years. Allen earned a TEFL Certification in Spain, and is now working as an English Teacher in Madrid. TEFL Madrid got in contact with him recently to get the inside scoop on what he has been doing since he made the big step from his days in Canada, how Teaching English in Spain has been treating him, and how work and life is treating him after completing his TEFL Course.