Teach Enrich Empower
Emily Rodgers - Teaching in Spain
My name is Emily and I am 22 years old from Blackpool. Throughout university in Manchester, I knew that I wanted to move abroad for a year after graduation.
At university I studied Journalism, so it wasn’t really relevant to teaching. However, one year turned to two and now I can see myself doing this for a very long time.
I took the TEFL course because I knew that a qualification like this could take me far in the world, arguably more than my £49,000 university degree! If I had a TEFL qualification, it meant that I could move almost anywhere in the world and have the skills to get a job. An enjoyable and satisfying one at that!
The TEFL course was 100 hours online and 20 hours in a classroom, the entire course was invaluable in terms of attaining a job but also succeeding at it. The weekend we spent in the classroom was so much more enjoyable than I had anticipated. To be put in a real life situation where you had to plan and teach a lesson was nerve-wracking but totally necessary to prepare you for what’s to come.
“I have loved the satisfaction that comes from teaching”
I was offered a job in a school called Exit School of English in a small town outside Barcelona called Palau Solita i Plegamans (see photo). It is a wonderful town with around 14,000 inhabitants, and after a year I know about 13,500 of them! I teach students from age 7 to 77, so I am always ducking behind chairs/buildings or anything big enough to hide from my students wandering around the village. Especially when it’s a Friday night and you’ve had a few drinks!
With some of my older students however, First Certificate and above, I have formed a nice relationship with and we often go out for pizza or ice cream as long as they promise to speak in English. (See photo) My Spanish is not great and though it worried me to move here without the language it hasn’t proved to be a problem at all, in fact even when I attempt my Tarzan Spanish they always reply in English and make the effort to help my ignorant self.
I have loved the satisfaction that comes from teaching, especially younger children, there is nothing like the feeling of knowing someone understands something and thinking ‘that is because of me!’ The kids love hearing about England and hang on your every word, although be careful what you say because they will take you literally. Last Halloween I told my students that I love Halloween and would only do the lesson if they all came dressed up (bad English humour) and every single one of them came to the next class in full costume! (see photo).
I also love the creative side of teaching, like making a huge project wall with my students for special occasions like Christmas or Summer (see photo). If you are lucky enough to have such lovely students like I am you will also love going into your classroom to find nice messages on your whiteboard. Or when it is your birthday and then come in with homemade cake and chocolate milkshake. (see photo)
Living in Barcelona has been a huge eye opener in a lot of ways but mostly in terms of what I have learned (probably more than my students). Living and teaching in a different culture is an incredible experience and I am definitely not finished with it yet!
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