Conversation classes 101

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Before I came to Spain I only had a vague knowledge of conversation classes and it was not a point that was really focussed on during my CELTA. However after arriving in Spain i soon realised how popular they were and all the problems that can come with this interesting concept of solely speaking for an entire lesson.

I’m not entirely sure where this idea of everyone must have a conversation class comes from , as improvement in all areas of language is valuable and as the skills are interlinked it seems in my opinion quite strange to focus and be obsessed only with one. I can’t see a conversation class being effective for anyone under B2 level (free to disagree). Below this level, speaking can be incorporated into any lesson and specific focus on pronunciation and fluency can also be done here. For higher levels a conversation has the benefit of focussing purely on speaking for the whole class time and within that you can focus on very specific student speaking problem1s or the more wider overall fluency and it gives students enough time to switch their minds into English mode and really test what they know and how they can express themselves.

Either way, in Spain (and most of Europe) you will be asked to do them so here are some pointers that might help you. Some are common sense and some might just make the difference between a successful class and unsuccessful one. Continue reading “Conversation classes 101”

What are your teaching qualifications worth in Spain?

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“We want a native teacher with a CELTA with 3 years experience to work for pennies in our industrial park academy.”

“We want a native or non native teacher,no experience necessary to work in the centre of a great city with full sponsorship for CELTA.”

An exaggeration perhaps but there is no doubt that the adverts for teaching jobs in Spain are at times baffling. Continue reading “What are your teaching qualifications worth in Spain?”

Teacher Burnout

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Unfortunately this term is not as common as it should be. It can affect anyone at any time and is no different to work related stress or simply being pushed too hard day after day until you break. It is in fact all too common in the EFL world as bosses push employees to their limits day in day out until they either quit or are replaced.

Everybody’s different and some are affected more than others but the toll it can take on people’s lives, no matter how small, are quite frankly unacceptable. Most bosses turn around and say if you can’t handle it then quit, others may say it’s a product of the self entitled millennials who don’t know real hard work but in a world where stress related illnesses are on the rise and where it is being spoken about more openly than ever before perhaps it is time to speak out and address the issue in our field and let employers and employees alike know that teacher burnout is very real and very damaging.

We reached out across the Facebook group sphere, these private groups where every kind of EFL teacher dwells from here to kiribati (shout out to our reader over there), to find out what some teachers thought and if they could take some spare time to answer a few questions about teacher burnout. We asked them to answer four questions and here are some of their answers we received…. Continue reading “Teacher Burnout”

EFL Interviews- The questions I like to ask

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The classic tête-à-tête. The first formal meeting between employer and potential employee. They are a fundamental part of the recruitment process for any EFL teacher and can also be quite nerve-racking. Especially when the job is in a place you really want to go. Through my experiences of doing interviews for positions in Spain, Italy, Malta and England I hope to put together some questions that you should definitely ask during the interview. And I’ve had it all, from why are you asking so many questions, to why aren’t you asking enough, to even… I don’t want to answer that. Well, with some decorum and respect you can ask these questions below and, hopefully, it will help you get a better picture of what you are stepping into and, like the once bitten twice shy teacher that I am, you can avoid the trap of working for the kings of this pyramid scheme we call EFL. (a term from a comment on a previous blog I wrote that still makes me chuckle). Continue reading “EFL Interviews- The questions I like to ask”

Part 2: Going Private in Spain

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Part 2- Going private

Well, after receiving some very positive feedback from people and after also being told we are academy bots writing with the sole purpose of promoting academies in Spain, I guess it is time for part two where we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of going private in Spain. Continue reading “Part 2: Going Private in Spain”

Academies or going private- Which one to choose when teaching in Spain?

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Part 1: Academies

To go private, or not to go private; that is the question. Despite the obvious Shakespeare hijack this is an issue that interests a few and scares many. The decision can determine how your academic year will play out, whether you will make money or not, and at times truly push you to the limits of your teaching and the limits of your sanity. From grumpy bosses to unrealistic students and from a comfy classroom to a busy rush hour bus, desperately trying to get from class to class. Both choices have big effects on your time, social life and enjoyment of, wherever you happen to be, in the land of opportunity, more commonly known as… Spain. Continue reading “Academies or going private- Which one to choose when teaching in Spain?”