David’s Spain TEFL adventure
Tell us about your teaching experience, classes and relationship with students and other teachers
My experience with the school has been highly positive, especially with the primary school children. I have been preparing lessons for 4th, 5th and 6th grade every week, going through groups of 3 or 4 students for 15 minutes. I have been able to interact with them efficiently and feel like every student has been participating in the lessons; adding an element of fun into the classes really increased my relationship and respect with all the students. The high school teaching only takes up a small number of my hours. However, I am working with the teachers to ensure more students engage in the conversation. Overall, I get on brilliantly with the teachers and have many chats, great lunches, and coffees with an element of language exchange. My lesson plans consist of a vocabulary section with pictures and keywords, making sure students elicit and then getting them to do a short exercise at the end of the lesson.
What is it like living with a host family?
There is nothing I can fault about the host family. They have provided me with excellent meals, hospitality, great company, family trips and very understanding if I need anything. They also don’t mind if I want to do things independently, which is brilliant, and I would recommend any voluntary speaker to come to stay with my family. The kids are so brilliant, and personally, I haven’t been treated as an au pair as the program said I wouldn’t, which is excellent, but I also love to spend time with them, be it watching football or playing games.
When living with your host family, always be respectful of the food you are given. If you don’t like a particular type, then feel free to express your feelings. They eat late here, from 8 to 9 pm. So make sure to be on time for the meal. The parents have put effort into preparing it and always make sure to make an effort to speak English at the dinner table.
Talk to us about your overall experience in Spain!
My experience with the program has been incredibly positive. I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did. The initial struggles were there, and there were days that I found challenging. Then there were memorable moments with the school, family, and friends I cherish forever.
Were there any improvements or challenges that you faced during your experience?
I have grown in confidence, breaking out of my hard, introverted IT background shell, and feeling good about myself, especially all the kids shouting my name in the school; it really is heartwarming.
What advice would you give to new or future interns about moving to Spain?
I would always advise you to ask as many questions as possible and concerns before coming here with your teachers and the family. If you are not a people person, then I would not recommend it to them. It is really important that you are friendly and approachable to everyone, even if you are having a bad day. For me, I am normally good with people. But in a school setting, this was my biggest challenge to put myself out of my comfort zone.
If you give yourself advice, what would it be?
Make sure to have tea/coffee with your teachers after lunchtime. You will form new friendships and earn their respect too. Make sure to have at least prepare one lesson plan per week to ensure that if you run into the same students again, you will have new material for them. I would also recommend bringing a kettle. because here people don’t use them, get some tea bags and you’ll save more money!
Tell us your favourite memory of your internship
When I see the kids in the school giving you smiles, waves, hugs and chanting your name. You know that you’ve helped them improve their English, when they are happy to see you.
Any regrets joining? Would you recommend the program to others? What would you say to someone thinking about teaching English abroad for the first time and thinking about joining this program?