A day at a Summer School in England

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Working in a Summer School happened to me through a random job application, whilst unhappy with my job in Spain. I applied; I left it and I didn’t think anything of it, but what I didn’t realise was that the 8 weeks I do every year would serve as the best teaching environment and experience I would have as a teacher, despite being in Spain for 3 years.

Not only was I being paid over the summer, which for many teachers is a dream, I got to do so in the city I went to University and where most of my formative years occurred. I could choose either 15 hr weeks or 30 hr weeks and I had a say in what levels I was interested in teaching, so as to help with my career development, something the school takes seriously, and although only an 8 week contract, I honestly felt a better teacher for it and that my skills had actually developed. I learnt a lot of new activities to use in the classroom and I actually got to use my CELTA knowledge.

To give a better idea of my experience and hopefully many others, here is what I did on a typical day in a typical 30hr week: Continue reading “A day at a Summer School in England”

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Teruel- Mudejar and a little Bull

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Rushing through the bare Aragonese countryside, our train desperately trying to outrun a summer storm chasing us across the plateau, we have time to reflect on our 8 months in Logroño and time to plan for our final week in Spain a trip from Logroño to Teruel to Valencia then Madrid and finally home. Continue reading “Teruel- Mudejar and a little Bull”

Logroño- Where the wine flows freely

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El Rio Ebro slowly meanders round this pretty little city, flowing as smoothly as the wine it helps to produce. What Logroño lacks in size it makes up for in curiosity as narrow streets and parks await exploration by anyone who stays the night. The capital of the smallest autonomous community in Spain, La Rioja, it is also the capital of wine and tapas whilst acting as a beacon for weary pilgrims, making their way along El Camino; their destination Santiago de Compostela.

Continue reading “Logroño- Where the wine flows freely”

5 things I have learnt from the Native vs Non-Native debate so far.

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I posted a blog several months ago about this interesting topic. I hadn’t read anything about it beforehand or been asked to write by someone championing the cause, I had simply seen it in Spain, everywhere I looked, and felt that it was not right. Why should my partner, who is a far better teacher than me, not get a job but I should because of my nationality? It baffled me, after all, ‘teachers are made not born’, but apparently I had serendipitously been born in the right place and been afforded unworthy privilege as a result.

I have been following this topic for several months now, since I published my article, and although just a small time, in the grand 60 years of discrimination that has taken place, I have in fact learnt several things about the topic and I feel I should share them:

Continue reading “5 things I have learnt from the Native vs Non-Native debate so far.”

5 things to watch out for when looking at EFL job advertisements.

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There are many many websites that you can browse to find the perfect TEFL job, however the sheer amount can at times be overwhelming and what may be the perfect job can descend into a nightmare quite fast. Making sure you pick the right job is make or break for any teacher and sometimes the adverts, and what you get when you arrive in your destination, can be vastly different. All jobs come with a danger of not meeting expectations but having some knowledge of what to look for and what to avoid may just be the difference between walking into a disaster and walking into a damn good time.

My most obvious piece of advice is don’t let where you want to go cloud your judgement. I’ve heard it so many times: Continue reading “5 things to watch out for when looking at EFL job advertisements.”

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”

5 things pupils ask that you wish they wouldn’t

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Welcome to students say the darndest things or should I say any EFL class anywhere. It can be a hoot and a holler teaching them to an outright existential crisis causing nightmare. Here are some of the more humorous episodes that we’ve experienced, perhaps you can relate and add some more in the comments. Continue reading “5 things pupils ask that you wish they wouldn’t”