Hi y´all, I´m Mike from Houston in Texas, the USA. I´m 22 years old, and finished college 3 months ago.
I took some courses in Spanish at college, but didn´t feel that I was able to speak it well. That´s why I ended up in Spain. I found this Trinity College CertTESOL course and I took the package that included a 1-year student visa and Spansih program. I will stay in Madrid for 1 year and maybe move to South America later. Nothing definite but let’s see what the Madrid life has in store for a young Texan like me.
I did the August course. We were told at the course, that Sept was the peak season for getting jobs, and that´s the truth. The phone was quiet for a couple of days, and the inbox remained empty. Then, the show started, and I got a lot of calls and mails about going for interviews. It was quite chaotic in the start, I forgot to write down the appointments, and made some double bookings. I guess I lost some good job offers because of that
Anyway, I went to lots of interviews, and most of the language academies contacted me again. After one week I ended up having 15 classes with one academy and I could maybe get 5 – 8 more hours with another academy.
Last Monday was my debut as an English teacher, and I don´t know if I possibly can describe how nervous I felt.
The week before I went up to the academy that had hired me, to find out what to teach. They were quite helpful, gave me the course books to be used, and instructed me to make lesson plans using the texts and exercises in their materials.
I was going to teach five classes that Monday; four intermediate classes, and one advanced. The intermediate classes were general English, and the advanced was only oral with a woman who was training for a job interview in English.
I was quite confident about the intermediate classes; I would just do exactly like they had taught us at the course. What I didn´t feel too comfortable about at all, was the advanced class. Only speaking for 60 minutes…about what? Job interviews? How do you prepare for that? And what if the student asked me difficult questions about grammar? Would I be able to give an explanation, and would the student understand me?
On the underground to the academy, my head was full of all these thoughts, so full that I went off at the wrong station, I had gone too far! I noticed it when I came up to the surface, I didn´t recognise any of the buildings from the earlier visits up there. I asked in my broken Spanish, some people around the station, and they were very helpful.
I had to get back and take the train a couple of stations in the opposite direction. Thank God god I was early out, but now I had to hurry up.
I came running into the academy ten minutes before the first class, and I guess I must have looked quite funny with one small rucksack and a plastic bag that was about to fall apart because it was so full of teaching materials. My face was red, I was sweating all over, I was breathing heavily, and I needed desperately to get something to drink.
The people at the academy laughed at me, some of them commented something in Spanish that I didn´t understand, but they were all quite helpful, and showed me the classroom. I went in there, dropped my bags at the desk, and looked around. Two of the students had already arrived, smiled at me and said, “Good morning, teacher.” I was still so stressed that I just mumbled something in response.
Ten minutes past the time, five of my six students had arrived. Should I just start now, or should I wait for the last student? While I was thinking about this, one of the students said, “Excuse me teacher, maybe we can start now?” I followed her recommendation, and I was about to teach my first professional English class.
During the introductions, the late comer arrived, stating that he was “very, very, very, very sorry”.
The group was quite mixed, four women and two men in their late thirties, and most of them were working in business administration.
Everything was fine, until I corrected one student who said: “I am living in Madrid since two years ago.”
They accepted my correction, but I wasn´t able to explain why it was wrong, and I could see that some of them became a bit impatient. I promised them to come back with a good explanation next class. The other intermediate classes were OK, but they had more problems understanding me than I had thought. Maybe because of my accent, but one student told me that he would never listen to English in his free time. He only liked Latin pop, and all movies and series would be dubbed.
The advanced class, that I had feared the most, went much better. The student´s English was quite good. She had some trouble with her pronunciation and specific sounds, like she all the time confused the sounds of “since” and “science”. Her grammar was very good, and she was able to correct herself if she made any mistakes related to this. The rest of the class went smoothly, we were talking about her background, education, previous jobs, her CV and so on….
I was quite happy and relieved on my way home that afternoon, and couldn´t wait to call my parents about my new experience.
Sitting down on the couch in my room. I realised that I was unexpectedly tired and exhausted, so I fell asleep and woke up two hours later. It was the phone! It was my parents calling me to ask about my first classes.