Canterbury English TEFL

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    “Now that I had decided I was going to stay in Madrid, there was only one problem, how the heck was I going to stay here when my Swiss bank account had enough money in it for two more months. I calculated that it would run dry sometime in early January of 1990.

    I found a room in a shared flat in the popular and multicultural neighborhood of Lavapiés, and the English guy whose room I inherited, when I confessed to him about how I longed to stay permanently in Madrid, but didn’t know how, said to me, “Why don’t you teaches English!” I looked at him in a confused way and said, “Teach what?” He repeated, our language.” And I replied innocently and a little astounded, “you can do that?”. Yes, you can, he replied. I  know all about teaching English abroad.


    “I had never even heard about  the possibility to stay in Madrid as a Foreign Language Teacher before and it had never even occurred to me that someone, without a degree in Education, could teach English.



    And that was how it all began. I went to a phone booth on the second floor of Telefonica (Spanish Phone Company) in the Gran Via, opened up one of those old phone books and started calling the English academies to see if I would have any luck. By the end of the day, I had three jobs lined up in teaching English abroad, incredible!




    “I was truly the nowadays much-frowned-upon backpacker turned English teacher. I hadn’t the foggiest notion of how to teach a language class, not a clue about grammar, yes, a cat thrown in off the diving board at the deep end, but with an intense desire to learn how.

    How to teach english abroad
    • After getting through my first class on a wing and a prayer, I started to figure out how to become a good teacher. I keep investigating into how to instruct English overseas in Spain. But there was no help from any source on my idea to stay in Madrid: No handbooks, no internet, no manuals, nothing to teach myself how to teach the language other than a ragged first edition of Raymond Murphy’s English Grammar in Use, which became my adopted bible and which saved me from many a faux pas.
    • So my first English classes in what would later be organized under TEFL training were like someone learning how to cook in a huge, shiny kitchen with all kinds of delicious ingredients, but not knowing how to fry an egg, let alone make spaghetti. They were a little bit like a sometimes botched laboratory experiment with a mad scientist trying to make gold out of lead.
    Teaching english abroad. How to instruct English overseas in Spain


    To stay in Madrid, I used trial and error investigation. My long suffering students became guinea pigs to be dissected with new, self-invented methods that sometimes produced the alchemy of an amazing class and other times, a black, smoking short circuit and a fire to be put out, which more than once ended up in me being fired from a teaching job.


    After a few months of this intense learning process, I finally came up with what I considered to be a modus operandi that worked with students and I started to become, in my opinion, a decent teacher.”


    I often asked myself the questions: how can I  teach english abroad? How can I find a good school where I can be happy teaching?


    The answers came slowly as month after month I gained more experience and become more fascinated with the English teaching profession…


    To be continued…