In May of 2011 I was studying hard for my final exams (BA Hons in TESOL and Spanish) and wondering what I was going to do after graduation. I had been looking on TEFL.com and applied for a couple of jobs through the site, but after spending hours slogging over just one application, I saw the Spainwise jobs fair advertisement and decided there and then that it was a perfect alternative.
At the jobs fair, I had a total of seven interviews with schools all over Spain (as I had no idea where I wanted to be) and felt thoroughly satisfied that I had made the most of the fair and achieved what I had hoped to. In the weeks following, there were some schools that I had heard from straight away via email and others that took longer. I was lucky enough to have a number of offers to choose from and after much deliberation, I finally chose Academia Blue Door in Córdoba.
The main reasons why I chose Blue Door were that they didn’t hang about and got back to me almost straight away, which is something any job hunter hopes for. Secondly, I received the teacher’s handbook to read through in detail before the telephone interview, so I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for right from the start! I also liked the fact that they place importance on professional development with a weekly meeting and a number of conferences to attend throughout the academic year, all of which have been useful. Finally, it very much appealed that it is an official exam preparation centre for both Cambridge and Trinity which would be great experience, especially as a first year teacher like myself.
Settling in to the new job was considerably more difficult than I had anticipated and I found the first term from September/October to Christmas rather stressful to say the least. First of all, getting used to the working hours was a bigger challenge than I thought. As it is mainly evening work, I naively thought I would have a large chunk of the day to myself, forgetting that, as a new teacher, class preparation takes at least twice as long, if not more. Then there were the official exams to get my head around. Having a wide range of levels meant that I needed to familiarise myself with the exams very quickly, as well as the usual getting to know the students and how things work in the academy.
Christmas came as a welcome break and I returned feeling energised and more comfortable with just about everything. Since then, my time here has flown by all too quickly.
If it weren’t for an opportunity which has arisen to spend the next academic year in Australia, I would be continuing on here at Blue Door in Córdoba without a shadow of a doubt. It would be great to come back in September already being familiar with the workings of the school and the city. I love Córdoba and am discovering exciting new things that I would be keen to get involved in almost every week. I´ll be sad to say goodbye.
If I had to summarise this year in just a few words they would be; demanding, tiring and frustrating, BUT exciting, satisfying and character-building! Remembering that the good only comes with the bad, my experience here has definitely been a positive one.
You can find out more about the 2013 Spainwise TEFL Jobs Fair here.
Read more teachers' stories here.