5 Reasons to Teach English in Barcelona

Yes, I know – you sometimes think exciting things and dream job offers only happen to other people. I used to think so too. But then I decided to make these exciting things happen! It went like this:

A friend was telling me about her experiences while teaching English in China and I suddenly realized what I wanted: A fulfilling job in a beautiful foreign city! To teach English abroad and enjoy life fully! Sounds like a dream, right?

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Well, a lot of people are making this dream a reality. They all dared to take the first step – to become masters of their lives. And that’s what I did too.

After that, I just followed a few necessary steps with determination.

I chose a city I had always dreamed of – Barcelona. I put some effort into training. And I got the experience I had always wanted! Here are some more details about these steps.

Now, let me tell you the reasons why I’d suggest Barcelona to anyone following this path:

 

  1. Exquisite architecture

Walking through Barcelona is like wandering through a dream. This largely has to do with the famous architect Antoni Gaudί. He left his enchanting, playful mark all over the city.

His most famous work though is La Sagrada Famίlia, his unfinished symphony. It just takes your breath away. As do most of his creations.

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Come to think of it, Barcelona has it all; from the grand medieval towers to the wonders of modern architecture.

Let’s not forget its amazing parks and boulevards. You could walk for days there and never get bored!    

 

  1.       The possibility of learning another language.

Always wanted to learn Spanish? Or maybe you are interested in learning Catalan, the co-official language of Cataluña. Well, what better way than communicating with the locals daily… If you immerse yourself in the language, try to use it in everyday situations, without fear of embarrassment – you will get the hang of basics easily and then move on to more complex things.

Your students can be your teachers if you let them. It also makes the classes more fun! Anyone you meet around the town can teach you something. Just be open and go easy on yourself!

Spanish is the world’s second most spoken language. Also, it’s the language of the exciting rolled R, colorful idioms and pleasing melody. Just listen and drink it in!

 

  1. Art

Spain is home to an unrivaled artistic heritage and Barcelona a heaven of museums.

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Among these, best known are Picasso Museum, with around 3800 pieces by this controversial genius, Casa Batlló, one of the most iconic structures in the city, MNAC, with works from 1000 years of Catalan culture, and MACBA, the perfect place for modern art admirers.

Of course, there are many more museums in Barcelona for the art lover in you. All you have to do is choose!

  1. Food and holidays

Eating in Spain is not just a routine, it’s a celebration of life!

There’s a huge variety of regional dishes for you. Whether it’s paella from Valencia, gazpacho from Andalusia, or casseroles of Cataluña – you are guaranteed an amazing treat!

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It doesn’t matter if you eat at a neighbourhood tapas bar or in an ultra-modern restaurant – the food is fantastic!

Although you can find these dishes in Barcelona, why not try them in their original regions?

Sure, your job will be somewhat demanding, but you’ll also have time to travel! And, oh my, the things you can see…

Beautiful coastlines, the enchanting palace of Alhambra, ancient cities where different cultures merge, magnificent mountains…

Beauty awaits!

 

  1. Job security

 

There is an ample supply of students in Barcelona. The vast majority of Spaniards speak only a bit of English.

However, since English is more and more recognized as the language of future for tourism and business, many people are keen to learn it.

That’s where you come in. You can choose to work in a language school, give private lessons or teach in companies. Find what suits you best. That being said, you will need to get your NIE.

All in all, you won’t make a fortune, but you will live comfortably, enjoy your free time and save enough for trips!

Teaching English in a foreign country can be a transformational experience.

You will learn more about yourself. You will learn to adapt to various situations that happen in class and outside class. You will learn a lot about different cultures, make long-lasting friendships and gain unforgettable experiences.

Working abroad does wonders for your self-confidence. And also for your CV!

So take the first step!

By Dimitris Vlachos

To learn more about our TEFL courses please visit teflbarcelona.net

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So, what is Valencia? Quick facts: Valencia is an orange blossoming, port city on Spain’s southeastern coast. Not only is it Spain’s third largest city it is also a Mediterranean paradise with gorgeous beaches including Port Suplaya.

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Port Suplaya

Other than the beaches, Valencia is also know for its City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic structures including a planetarium (where ‘Tomorrowland’ was filmed) and the biggest Aquarium in Europe.

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Arts and Science Center

If you’re not keen on the beaches there are many parks, nearby mountains and old castles with historical attractions like Chativa and Albufera Park.

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Chativa / Xativa – 30 minute train ride, 7 euros

Similar to most places in Spain, Valencia has an unforgettable nightlife, no matter how many cups of Sangria you have. One of my favorite drinks is Agua de Valencia, which is similar to what Americans know as PJ or Jungle Juice if you’re from the north.

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Agua De Valencia

On of my favorite clubs is Mya, which is under the Arts and Science Center and has 3 different rooms playing today’s hits / hip-hop, house, and electro/techno. My favorite area is Colon, an older area of the city center with many cafes, bars, and restaurants. The Erasmus life (young people abroad, not necessarily students) in Valencia is very big, with even greater benefits. For example, every Wednesday they offer free Salsa lessons with free sangria, paella, and tapas.

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Paella de Valenica – Seafood

If you’re debating choosing this city over Barcelona or Madrid, I’ll tell you why I chose Valencia. I took the TEFL program in Barcelona and loved it, loved the city, the environment, and attractions. But, for me, Barcelona wasn’t somewhere I’d want to live for more than a few months or so, because of the huge tourist population and expensive prices. Not that you can’t find affordable options on an English teacher budget in Barcelona, but Valencia is extremely affordable and was the best option for my wallet. For example, I only pay 200 euros for rent in a great neighborhood and was able to buy a city bike for transportation costing 30 euros the entire year.

I find Valencia to be more traditional, as siesta time is very prevalent and so is Spanish. I easily got by speaking English everywhere I went in Barcelona which I didn’t like. My Spanish isn’t great, but I continue to improve by speaking with locals. One benefit of living in Madrid or Barcelona over Valencia is the airport. Flights are much cheaper to other countries from the bigger airports and are more frequent.

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Carnival Concert Celebration – right behind my house in Plaza de Benimaclet

Finally, the best for last; FALLAS. Through March 15-19th Valencia celebrates its renowned fire and firework holiday that is incomparable. There are tons of activities and things to do through the day but the following are the main events. Everyday morning street music parades can start as early as 7am, afternoon mascletas (loud fireworks you can literally feel in your body) at 2pm, evening street light shows between 7-9pm, nightly firework shows at 10pm and street discos 12pm-6am. Most importantly, every neighborhood has a ‘monument’ which are massive papier-mâché statues that will burn on the last day called ‘creama.’

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Obviously, my life as an English teacher in Valencia allows me to see and do many things. My first class doesn’t begin until 3pm because I teach at an academy outside of the school system. Generally most students are taught English in their school, but it is very common for them to also attend classes at an academy and/or take private lessons. English academies are very prevalent in Valencia, and it took about a week for my roommate and I to find jobs. I work part time (12 hours) Monday through Friday earning 600 euros and teach 5 different private lessons throughout the week for 10-15 euro an hour. It doesn’t sound like much, but I am definitely able to get by. I do recommend taking an English certification course before teaching because some days can be really challenging and mentally draining. Also, relearning correct English grammar is more difficult and confusing than expected. Teaching English abroad is and isn’t what I expected. My student’s ages ranges from 3 to 42 years old which is nice because everyday classes are different. The younger ages are much more difficult to teach, especially when there are fifteen 3 year olds. But, you learn how to handle it. It’s not common for one teacher to have that many students though, generally my classes have 4-6 students. If you have no interest in teaching children, don’t worry, many businesses hire teachers through academies to teach employees in the mornings or afternoons. If you have the interest in teaching abroad in order to live somewhere amazing, gain cultural experience, learn a new language, and travel… do it. Being away from family and friends can be really hard at times, especially during the holidays, but you’ll make friends who are in the same boat and celebrate together. I feel that I’ve grown a lot during my time here and am so happy I made this choice.

By Emily Beam

 

For more information on our TEFL courses visit http://www.teflbarcelona.net

10 Reasons To Join TEFL in Barcelona

Never in a million years did I think I would become an English teacher. To be honest becoming a teacher was the last thing I ever wanted to do. I was worried that I would not know how to teach anything to anyone. I was worried I didn’t know any grammar (which I didn’t) and that students would call me out on it. I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to plan a lesson. Well, I actually didn’t know any of those things but thanks to the TEFL course I was taught all of it in a month. Here are 10 reasons to join TEFL:

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Reason 1: You’ll become a better English speaker

To be honest my confidence with English grammar was very low considering the last time I learned it was 10 years ago in school. The TEFL teachers will help you to re-learn all English speaking rules and grammar so you feel confident teaching it to others.

Reason 2: You’ll meet friends from different countries and states

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Everyone in the program is new like you, scared like you, and just as excited to be living in Barcelona. I got so close with the people from TEFL that we even traveled to different countries together and now live together.

Reason 3: You’ll experience a new culture by living in such a vibrant city

Barcelona is one of the most amazing cities I’ve ever lived in. The food is amazing, the beach is close by, the nightlife is great, and siestas are real.

Reason 4: You can travel around Europe on the weekends

Usually TEFL teachers work Monday-Friday so many of us enjoy traveling on the weekends. A flight to Paris or Milan can cost as little as 20 euros round-trip! In 5 months of living here I have already traveled to 6 different countries.

Reason 5: You’ll gain references from professional English speakers

Not only are the TEFL teachers there to help, they want you to grow and be successful. They have a lot of insight about teaching abroad and can help you find jobs if you need them.

Reason 6: You’ll live a couple miles away from the Mediterranean Sea

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Bright, blue waters, beach volleyball, and mojitos delivered right to your towel. That is all.

Reason 7: You’ll gain self-confidence both in teaching and in your personal life

Teaching in front of people can be scary for the first time but after awhile you start to get used to being the center of attention. Support from other teachers as well will help you feel more comfortable as time goes on.

Reason 8: You’ll build your resume with a unique experience overbroad

It’s been said that employers love seeing ‘TEFL Certified’ on your resume because it shows that you are a risk-taker, you’re adaptable, and you’re more used to hearing and working with other languages.

Reason 9: You’ll learn to adapt in any situation

There has been times where I’ve spent hours preparing a lesson and then showed up to class and my students didn’t understand it. It can be frustrating at times but I’ve learned to think on my feet and tweak the lesson so that the students could understand it better.

Reason 10: You’ll grow up

Cheesy, but true. Not only will you learn to adapt yourself to a new environment, culture, and language but you’ll also learn how to take responsibility for your lessons, how you structure your classes, and how you organize your week. I was never organized before I became an English teacher and now I’ve learned (the hard way) that organization and teaching go hand-in-hand. Not only that but feeling homesick is normal. I’ve been able to lean on my friends that I’ve made from the course and have realized that I really can make it through anything. All in all, it’s a wonderful experience and you shouldn’t think twice about doing it. It’s worth it!

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By Anna Preston

 

The Importance of Teacher Development

I remember back in the day when I was taking my driving test – third time’s a charm. After finally passing, my Mum turned around and said to me: “It’s only after passing your test, you truly learn how to drive.” As usual, she was right. She’s like Yoda.

So, you want to be a teacher?

Teaching ESL is similar in this way. Taking the TEFL – or equivalent – is a constant learning curve. You get taught everything you need to know: grammar, teaching concepts and ideas, what to expect in a classroom, how to help students… But you never really learn how to teach until after your initial training and you’re stood there in your first set of classes. This is were the real learning begins.

Having a career as an ESL teacher isn’t as simple as just getting a TEFL degree and walking into a classroom and speaking English. You have to constantly be on your game, adapting, developing, changing, moving like the wind to see if your teenage students are really writing what they should be writing. Teacher development is a crucial and necessary path to take if you want to be successful.

Teaching you are, training you must.

The reason for teaching English is different for different people. You may be taking a gap teach-english-abroad-passport-canadayear or a break between your studies/career search, you may want to live in a different country, you may have just fallen in to it, or you may have planned to do this all along. Whatever your reasons, whether you are only planning on teaching for a few months or a few years, constant training is important.

Ideas and concepts are forever changing and it is important to be on top of these changes, and even better if you can add to them or develop your own concepts.

article-1318093-0B803914000005DC-954_306x423 (1)Training is essential in this industry as there are always new and better ways of doing something and you don’t want to be caught in the past whilst all your colleagues are trying new and exciting methods of teaching they learnt from their friendly neighbourhood training facility.

I can hear some of the groans and sighs at this; more training, but I thought this was it?! Sorry young Padewan, teacher you are, but train you must. Hone those Jedi skills of English knowledge you should and better classes you will have. Okay, enough of the Yoda and onto a more serious note: constant training is essential and there are many things you can do to progress and improve your skills as a teacher.

Free (yes, free) Seminars

There are numerous free ESL seminars which can be found in or around your city. Sign up for newsletters and e-mails to receive dates and times of when these seminars are on. I’ve been attending these free seminars in my city for the past five years, whenever I have some free time to go. They are an essential part of your teaching development. Not only do you get to hear from seasoned English teaching veterans and find out new and interesting ideas to help students, but it’s also a fantastic networking opportunity where you can find out about other schools and experiences from people in a similar position. Some seminars are great, some are not so great, but either way you always get something out of them and all you had to do was get out of bed that morning.

Everyone will have their favourite speaker at a seminar, and there’s one person who I always go and see. I’ve come out of a 2-hour seminar with enough notes to stop my dining room table from wobbling. He is insightful and has helped me tackle difficult classes and concepts successfully as well as giving me more confidence in the classroom to try new things. Find a speaker you like and can learn from, then make sure you attend their seminars as much as possible.

Not-so-free seminars

Yes, my wallet protests under these conditions as well. However, sometimes, you just have seminar_promo-blockto pay for good information and they are well worth it. The not-so-free seminars can be a full weekend thing or just a couple of hours on a Friday. However, as a teacher, they are invaluable and should be attended as and when you can. You will learn about exciting new concepts, ways to tackle problem areas in a classroom and things you’ve never even thought about. Again, it is a fantastic opportunity to network but this time with directors and schools a bit further afield, to keep those options open and learn from people with a lot of experience. If your budget simply will not allow for these paid seminars, and mine rarely does, then talk to your school director and see if they can help you out. Most of them will be thrilled you are taking your job seriously and want more training in this field and may contribute to your attendance.

In your school

Training doesn’t necessarily mean having to attend seminars, as you can develop your skills at the school you work in through challenging yourself. Yes, it’s easy to follow a book or syllabus, so try doing neither. You are your students’ best port of call for what they need vs. what they have to do. Take students out of the book and away from the syllabus and give them something they can really stick their teeth into. Developing your own syllabus and resources is an invaluable and essential skill for a teacher to have.

Where I work, each student has two teachers and some are repeating the same level/book, so planning is important. We don’t want the student to just repeat the same experience they had in a chapter or unit from the book, we need to find a new way of teaching it to them so that they can understand it better. This means regular meetings with teaching partners and adapting the way we teach. Even if you don’t have an official teaching partner at your school, don’t be afraid to ask other colleagues of their experience teaching this area. What advice could they give you? Bounce ideas off them. Two heads are always better than one.

Also, talk to your school director and ask them if they could organise meetings or mini seminars with some of their more experienced teachers. This is very useful and gives you all chance to address a common problem, teaching idea or concept and turn it on its head to make it more interesting and easier to understand. Your colleagues are a gold mine of information as everyone teaches differently. Talk to them, you never know what you might learn.

Master your skills

As with any degree or training, there is always another certificate you can add to your belt and ESL is no different. Once you have completed your TEFL – or equivalent – there are still other training qualifications you need to consider, such as the Trinity Dip TESOL or thegcen-teaching DELTA. These are the Master’s degrees of ESL teaching and are necessary to advance your career and training as a teacher.

They are not for the faint-hearted and require a lot of study and training – you are usually required to have been teaching with a TEFL certificate for at least two years before being allow to do the Trinity Dip TESOL or DELTA. However, they are the key to advancing your career and opening more doors to you in the long run.

They are expensive, up to around €2,700, and that’s not including the exam paper fee and books you need to purchase, but if this is what you want to do, it’s an investment worth making.

A word from our sponsors

As often is the case when I write blogs about things such as this, I like to talk to my colleagues and get feedback from them about their experience, so I talked to them about what they had learnt since finishing their initial TEFL training. A lot of the things they said were incredibly useful, especially from the ones who have been doing this for years and I thought it would be interesting to share some of their little gems of information here.

I asked them what they knew now that they wish they had known before, and one teacher told me that it was important to never stop treating your students like individuals, because no two classes are alike. Also, you need to constantly adapt your teaching style for the classroom and that only through years of experience do you gain the wealth, knowledge and skills to give you the necessary flexibility for this.

Subsequently, I asked them how attending seminars/conferences/training etc. helped them, and they told me that they were invaluable and a great way of learning new ways to teach, and also that the free workshops are great for newer teachers. However, after the two or three-year mark, there isn’t a lot out there unless it is provided by the school or you go for the TESOL diploma, DELTA or TESOL MA.

Finally, I asked them what the most important thing they had learnt since finishing their initial training was. They told me that a teacher must have the desire to reflect, improve and excel. No amount of training will make a person a good or a better teacher unless they truly love teaching.

And now, a word from me.

I told you, you’ve got to be on your game. It’s something I’ve come to realise over the years 20150119163324-tacherand when I look back I realise I have had the most fun developing myself and trying new things. The shelves in my classroom are bursting with folders of games and exercises, new concepts and ideas. I’ve had students I’ve taught for years and I can see my development growth through them, see where they struggle and find a new way to combat it and make it easier. It’s more fun to be inventive that just redoing the same thing over and over again. Even if you’ve taught the target language 100 times, try something new.

You never know, it might be a game changer.

By Morgan Dalzell

An Insight Into Teaching Teens

Keeping teens on task and focused can often be more difficult than cooking the perfect boiled egg; you teensphoto1know, when you crack that egg open to find there’s no runny yolk to dip your toast into. Oh the humanity!

So how are teens and perfect boiled eggs similar, I hear you ask? Well, as with making a boiled egg, the temperature needs to be perfect. By this, I mean the temperature of your class. You need to gauge how ‘hot for the topic’ your students are. It also takes time and patience. Don’t rush that egg (or student), but don’t take it out too soon (or cut your student off before they’ve finished).

In order to write this blog, I first had to do some research, which I conducted in the form of a questionnaire given to my teen students. The information I received back was both interesting and insightful, giving a more in depth view of what students want and need. For the next, one or two thousand words or so, we’ll look at some of the more popular and interesting comments and information provided by this questionnaire.

English academies vs English in schools

When being posed the question “How is learning English in a language academy, different to learning English in primary or secondary school?”, I was only a little surprised to read the biggest difference is speaking.

Language academies are heavily based on interaction and use of the language, whereas primary and secondary schools focus more on copying from a book. It never fails to surprise me when a new student joins the academy and looks like a deer in headlights the moment they are asked to speak. One student even mentioned in her comments that students can sometimes be shy. When this happens, again, be patient. It’s not that your student is being lazy or doesn’t want to speak, they are simply not used to it. There are a few things you can do to help with this:

  • Speak to any new students before the class starts to get some information about them. Joining a new class with new people is daunting in its own way, but when the teacher asks you to introduce yourself it can become a whole new level of scary. I’m sure we all remember team building workshops or starting a new job where you had to stand up and “say something interesting” about yourself. It was awful, no one liked it. Don’t make your teens go through the same thing.

  • Introduce them to the class and get them set up in a pair to become more relaxed. Set your pair up with someone who is more confident but also not the loud one of the class. This will make your new student even more shy. Start with a discussion or a Q&A exercise to help your student become more confident and sure of themselves before asking them to talk in front of the class. Remember, your student is new and doesn’t yet know their level compared to others and may be worried to speak up through fear of making a mistake. Give them time in a pair to plan, then check their information before speaking.

  • Don’t become frustrated when they don’t speak. This applies to both new and current students. Your frustration will pass on to them and make them less inclined to talk. Instead, guide them by asking easy-to-answer closed questions, then work your way up to open questions. Lead them, don’t force them.

  • Give them time. A lot of the time, students don’t want to speak through fear of making a mistake or embarrassing themselves. You can help by boarding the question instead of just asking it directly to students – this puts them on the spot and makes it difficult to give an immediate response. Having a pre-boarded question before class starts is always beneficial, especially when, in my case, teens tend to trickle into class before it starts (and after). Give students time to think about the question and look for vocabulary to help them express themselves. With really nervous teens, check their work and help them with any errors before they speak.

Speaking is an incredibly important part of language learning. It allows us as teachers to check any errors, misunderstandings or pronunciation problems. Teens get less of this at their day-to-day school, so try and practise this skill as much as possible in class.

Tasks

Which brings us on to the next area: What do students like learning about in class? What tasks energise and engage them and which bore them to tears?

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It goes as no surprise that teens do not like working from a book. They find it dull, monotonous and boring. They do this at school and don’t want to be doing it after as well. What the majority of them did say, was that they learned best when seeing the language in use, through videos, listening to people, etc.

One comment that really caught my eye was when a student said “I like learning things that keep my head up, not down in a book”. Yes, as with many academies, you may have to work from a book or syllabus and like many others you may have to source your own materials or a combination of both. Whatever the case my be, it is our job to ensure students are engaged and active. Always ask yourself how would they use this in their day-to-day lives? What are possible ways they could use it? What are topics teens would like learning about? I recently discovered through conversation with my teens in class that we all loved The Walking Dead. What better setting than end-of-the-world zombie-apocalypse survival to practise The Second Conditional? I + would + get the hell out of town!

What did surprise me was that students do enjoy learning grammar and vocabulary. They understand its importance and how they need to understand it to progress. However, the key word that rang out was interesting. Copying grammar down and filling in gaps is just not interesting for these kids, whodathunkit? Again, it’s all about themes and common interests, keeping up with trends – my teen students told me the other day when talking about social networking that “Facebook isn’t cool anymore”. This led to an interesting discussion, (whist secretly prompting them to use comparatives and superlatives), about what social network sites were cool and which were naff.

Extra input

I asked students what extra input they enjoyed having the most in class. Videos were obviously a clear teensphoto3winner. Everything from film trailers, funny adverts, interesting discussion topics to epic fails, they can’t get enough. A few weeks ago we were practising modal verbs of deduction, where the final practise was to watch a series of what-happens-next video fails. Students had so much fun watching the videos and guessing what would come next they were using the language naturally and without really thinking about it.

In second place was music and, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean classic bands such as Pearl Jam, New Order or Massive Attack. More hip hoppy, bip boppity stuff although, thankfully so far, no Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus, so they have that going for them at least. The good news is that you can do activities where you don’t need to listen to the full song, instead just the chorus, and even I have to admit they were catchy. To review reported speech and reporting patterns, I printed out the first part and chorus of popular songs and printed them out with a full sentence missing, with the obvious aim to listen and fill it in, for those of you familiar with Nevermind the Buzzcocks, it’s similar to their Next Lines round. After that, we used the boarded reporting verbs to re-write the sentences. Some were good, such as “John Newman asked if I could love him again, I told him I couldn’t”. Some were a little strange: “Sia threatened to swing from a chandelier, so I told her to do it”. All in all, it was a fun and successful task without using any books.

Lastly, we have projects. These came in all kinds of ideas from students including poster design, making a comic book strip, writing a story or creating a newspaper. I’ve seen seemingly tired teens perk up the instant I get the magazines, scissors and pens out. This is also a great way of getting them to work together and share ideas. A popular task is creating their own planet or island with their own sets of rules and ideas for what’s there. Students then present their idea and the others ‘visit’ and review their stay.

Teachers

When asked which kinds of teachers helped students’ learning experience and how could we improve, there teensphoto4were lots of different responses, as one student summed up very well ‘I think a student needs a variety of types of teachers in order to learn in different ways and adapt better to different situations’

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I asked some students to expand on this idea and this is what they said:

Personality is important, they have to like what they teach”

My teacher is a little strict but also funny, so she does a good combination”

My teacher is like a friend who explains interesting things”

I like teachers who are funny because when you are with them you

interact more and class is more fun”

Teachers who make different activities”

The funny teachers are always better because they make the classes seem less long,

and if we play games it’s easier to learn”

I like strict and fun teachers, because I want to learn, but with fun”

I think both teachers I have are very good, they are so nice and they always help you”

I like a teacher that explains the theory of the examples with videos”

So, not a lot of pressure then…

The important thing is to keep a balance. Classes can’t be out of control but they also can’t be under exam conditions: you need to establish the boundaries. You can even have your students help you with the ‘rules of the class’, a great way to start all new classes as well as reviewing and practising modals of obligation and necessity, although be prepared for them to say “the teacher can’t give a lot of homework”.

What your teens want you to know

A few left this question blank, although the ones that did respond made some very interesting points.

A few of them mentioned how important it was that their teacher spoke English throughout the class so that they had to use it in their questions and responses as well as when giving examples. I don’t let students simply shout out what they think the word is in their own language as mistakes and misunderstandings can happen; instead they must use it in a sentence to practise it and for me to check. Even if you speak their language and know the translation is correct, this is still a good thing to do with your students. They’re learning English and so it’s that word they should be using and remembering, not the one in their native tongue.

Another popular comment was for the teacher to interact with the students. They want you to get involved, they’re interested in who you are, using yourself in examples, especially the funny and slightly embarrassing ones will remind your students that you are not a robot. Have fun with them and, in turn, they will respect you more.

One comment really made me stop and it is this final comment I will leave you with after rambling on for nearly five pages – your boiled egg (head) is most definitely over cooked by now, my apologies, but I hope some of the information in here was worth it.

I would like that my teachers remembered when they were teenagers in class”

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by Morgan Dalzell

I am not a “Foodie”

If you have been living above ground at all during the past 5 years, chances are you know what a ‘foodie’ is.  You probably also know how to spot one in the wild – you can find them choosing the most exotic dish on the menu, critiquing the presentation and plating of even the most basic food, and going to great lengths to get the perfect Instagram shot.

I am not a foodie.  I don’t have the refined palate or adventurous taste buds necessary for this label, and only 1 in 10 of my Instagram posts are of food.  That being said, I love food.  I am also cheap and lazy.  Grocery shopping, cooking, and ESPECIALLY doing dishes are not my things.  I’ll choose French fries over foie gras every time, and anything from the ocean makes me preemptively nauseous.

I’ve compiled a selection of my favorite restaurants in different genres for those who are looking for something similar – great food that is both cheap and delicious.   Keep in mind that I generally stick to my ‘hood (El Raval – don’t knock it), and all these places will fill you up for under €10.

IMG_5931-Traditional Catalan/Tapas – Elisabets is my pick for traditional tapas and Catalan food.  Not only is it delicious, it is the cheapest restaurant in the area.  While their tapas are always a great option (DO NOT miss the Patatas Bolognese – potatoes covered in Bolognese sauce), they also offer a wide variety of seemingly basic sandwiches that will blow your mind.  It’s bustling with a mix of locals and tourists, but you can still expect to pay only around €6-10 per person for tapas, sandwiches and drinks.

-Mexican – Rosa Negra – People are going to fight me on this, and I will say right off the bat that it is probably not the best Mexican food in the city, but what the heck, I love it.  I discovered this place and it’s ketch when I was finishing up my TEFL certification, and I have never needed a burrito more in my life.  I lived in Texas the year before moving to Barcelona, and basically my first month of life here was a slow and painful withdrawal from tacos, burritos, and nachos.  Cheap drinks, good food, and, to be honest, a very American crowd, made this relapse feel like I was IMG_5419home again.  Skip this if you’re looking for locals, but when the homesickness kicks in for all you Americans reading this, it’s the perfect place.  Most meals are under  €10, not including drinks.

-Non-American Fast(ish) Food – Rekons – EMPANADA HEAVEN.  What looks like your typical local bar/café on the corner is actually a life changing experience.  €2-3 per delicious, melt-in-your-mouth empanadas of all varieties.  While one (or let’s be real, two) empanadas are enough to fill you up, they also have a great meal option with 2 IMG_5930empanadas, a drink, and a giant salad (you know, to be healthy) for €10.  After eating here for the first time, I went home and started looking up jobs in Argentina, just so I could be in the homeland of this delicious food.  That is not a joke.

-Vietnamese – Bun Bo – Spoiler alert – this is a chain.  There is more than one in just the old city of Barcelona, but it probably needs more than one location to deal with the crowds.  Generally locals, though some tourists can be found here enjoying curries, spring rolls, and pho.  Having never been to Vietnam, I can’t rate its authenticity, but I can say that it is damn good food.  Nothing I’ve ordered here has been more than €10 – and I’ve been here so much, I’ve ordered almost everything on the menu.

-Vegetarian/Vegan – Veggie Garden – My roommate and good friend here is gluten and dairy free.  Recently, she also decided to cut meat out of her diet because I think she actually lost her mind.  Needless to say, finding food we can both eat is a challenge.  Enter Veggie Garden – a super delicious, super hippie, Vegan restaurant with the most amazing fixed price menu I have ever seen.  €8.50 gets you wine, soup or salad or hummus, an American-sized delicious and healthy entrée, and a dessert you will swear is not made of rabbit food.  They also have a huge selection of juices and smoothies that will make you feel super healthy and fashionable, like a celebrity on their way to spin class.

-Café – Buenas Migas – Again, I will have people fight me on this, but bear with me.  Buenas Migas is a chain, almost like Starbucks, but with a more European feel.  The glass cases are filled with beautiful pastries, pastas, and focaccia pizzas, andIMG_5418 their coffees are served in LARGE CUPS.  I repeat, LARGE CUPS.  Coming from the US, the hardest thing for me to get used to was the coffees that looked like they were made for dolls.  When I am in desperate need of caffeine, I head here for a large café con leche (con leche de soja, which they have), and a delicious and warm scone that comes with a beautiful selection of jams and spreads.  While the coffee is kinda pricey, they do have a reasonably priced lunch menu that gets you a drink, a salad, a pasta or pizza, and a dessert for €8.  They also play the strangest variety of music, and the vibe is tres chic.  It’s definitely my pick for a place to go for a serious round of blog writing.  (I may or may not be there right now…)

-Cheeeeeeeeaaaaappppp – Nostrum – If you buy the membership card for a one time €5 fee, literally everything in this store is between €1-3.  You can get coffee, pastries, snacks, and a selection of pre-made food that you stick in the microwave they provide.  They are also almost as common as Starbucks in NYC, so you will be able to find one wherever you are running to.  Great when you are on the go, or if you can’t figure out how to work your oven but payday isn’t until Friday.

-Paella – El Glop – This is a “take your visitors here” kind of place.  Not that it is crazy expensive, but you should never expect decent paella at a low price.  They have traditional tapas, meats, and cheeses available, but my favorite dish here is the paella.  Actually, it’s their imitation paella, which is green instead of yellow, contains no meat, and comes with a layer of Parmesan cheese baked on top.  With my aforementioned aversion to all things fishy, this is a perfect option (though they do have traditional paella as well!).  This place is pricier – closer to €20 per person – but as I said earlier, you really should not expect anything less for good paella.

By Sarah Melville

My First Months Teaching After the Course

Looking back, ten months after my journey of teaching English began, I can honestly say that the experience of teaching abroad was more than I dreamed. For starters, I am very glad that I chose to complete a TEFL course with TEFL Barcelona because not only did I feel better prepared and receive wonderful training, support and job assistance, I also immediately made friends that I know will last a lifetime. There’s a special bond that is formed when you meet people who are just as crazy and passionate about traveling and teaching as you. And while it was a little exhausting adapting to a new country, exploring new places with new friends, and of course studying material for the course, it was all well worth it!

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In the course, the grammar, teaching methods, and real-life teaching experience were definitely great and helpful. But what I especially found helpful was the job assistance. I learned exactly what to put on my CV, where to look for jobs, when and how to contact schools (or individuals for private lessons), what to expect when meeting and interviewing with schools and directors, and more. I can’t emphasize how important these things are. It is of course possible to get a job without these resources but I know from others’ experience it is more difficult, especially for first time teachers without previous experience. With all of the help, I secured a job within ten days of finishing the course, and I was one of the last people in my class to get a job (trying to find a job while also finding a place to live… not easy and a little stressful!).

Since the course, my experience has been great and looking back, it has gone really fast. But, I have accomplished a lot and learned more than I ever thought possible, all while having the experience of a lifetime that in some ways has felt like a year-long vacation. I seriously don’t understand why people wouldn’t consider this path! But, I know it isn’t for everyone.

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I think in some ways, teaching English is different than I expected. But for better or worse (and mostly better!), it has honestly been one of the best experiences of my life and taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of. And my students, aged 7 to 70, they’ve been the light of my life and brightened my mood on more than one occasion, taught me a lot, and above all left me with memories I will never forget. Shortly after starting teaching, I saw the below image and feel is sums up teaching quite well.

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Beyond teaching, it has been incredible to experience living in another country. Living in Barcelona has allowed me to improve my Spanish greatly, both through classes (another source of unforgettable friends!) and everyday immersion, and has allowed me the opportunity to travel to many new countries and even a new continent; Africa. But perhaps most of all, it has allowed me to find my true happiness and independence. I have pushed myself to do things I never thought I would or could, which is very empowering. Of course, I have missed holidays, birthdays, weddings, and even a funeral, which I don’t probably need to tell you is not easy. But, at the end of it all, I feel like if I can do this, I can do anything. And that’s a good feeling.

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by Lauren Hartley