Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I've been reading the threads here for a while, but this is my first post. I know you get a lot of the "Hey I'm moving to Spain to live the dream" type posts, but any new information or perspective would be much appreciated! I've done a fair amount of research and am looking for help pointing out any major flaws in my plan before I start getting to the smaller details.

I'm a 23 (about to be 24!) year old expat living in the U.S. and I'm looking to move to Granada in September to teach English. I've been living in the U.S for the last 13 years as a permanent resident, but I still have my British passport. I attended university over here and have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. I can comfortably hold a conversation in Spanish, however I wouldn't consider myself fluent. Since I graduated college last August, I've been a part of a full-time national volunteer organization called AmeriCorps (similar to PeaceCorps) in which I teach English to adults as a second language in the mornings and serve as a 1-on-1 reading tutor to K-3rd graders in the afternoons. I've also been doing private English lessons at night. My commitment to AmeriCorps ends in July, and I'm trying to make plans for life after.

I don't have any children, or a significant other, and I will have about $9,000 saved to make the move. I've found a TEFL course in Granada (teflspain DOT org) that seems like it would be a good place for me to get certified. The course provides accommodation for the 4 weeks, which would give me time to find an apartment in the mean time. Based of what I've found on loquo, I should be about to find a room for between 160-210 Euros per month. Also, the course finishes at the end of September, which from my understanding is peak hiring season for English teachers.

I'm fully aware of economic/unemployment situation in Spain right now, but I feel like I'm well equipped to handle the move. I have relevant degrees (especially for teaching business English), experience teaching adults and children (although only a year's worth), my Spanish is pretty good (and I'm eager to improve it), and I have no ties or expenses that would make the move overly expensive.

If things were to work out, I'm interested in pursuing my masters degree in economics at the University of Granada, however, my focus right now is to get started teaching English for a living. While this isn't this move ideal time to be making this move, it's now or never for me. Also, I don't have a plan B haha. I realize I'm being pretty optimistic about things, so if y'all could bring me back to reality and provide some criticism (or encouragement!) it would be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Sam
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
558 Posts
You seem like an intelligent person. You want to pursue a decent degree course in Granada. You are not seeking work that will earn you a fortune. You dont have any "baggage" (please, not meant to hurt anybody). I think you are the type of person prepared to "rough" it. You might pick up a number teaching English (but, for God's sake don't teach any Americanisms like 'put it on ice,' 'I dove into the swimming pool,' 'innernet (internet), etc etc.

I think you can turn any advantage your way. Whatever happens you come out the other end with a reputable degree. Go for it (I dont say that too often).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,399 Posts
It's families with children, unskilled non-Spanish-speaking Brits (often sadly not too articulate in their own language) and those who clearly haven't the faintest idea about life in Spain other than some vague nonsense about the 'Spanish dream' that I think should stay home.


I've always said that people in yoiur situation have nothing to lose and much to gain by making such a move.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,055 Posts
I am not an English teacher, never have been, neither have I university education, I am not seeking employment. However I am often receiving requests to teach English or for students to practice with me conversational English. Most requests I decline.

Therefore with your qualifications and experience, you must be in with a chance of success, go for it!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, I definitely appreciate the responses and encouragement guys. I realize I'm not going to make a fortune teaching, but after a year of volunteering I'll be more than content making the minimum. Plus I have a little bit saved to help get me on my feet.

Leper, I didn't realize "I dove into the swimming pool" was an Americanism. How would you say that it British English? I guess there are some things I've picked up that I don't even realize.

Playamonte, AmeriCorps is actually a pretty good program, despite the sinister name lol. Especially if you're a college graduate and don't have anything to do after. Unfortunately the government is trying to cut its funding, like they do with every beneficial government program.

I guess the next step for me is to go to the Spanish embassy here in Miami to get a head start on paper work and to start looking into flights!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,399 Posts
I am not an English teacher, never have been, neither have I university education, I am not seeking employment. However I am often receiving requests to teach English or for students to practice with me conversational English. Most requests I decline.
Therefore with your qualifications and experience, you must be in with a chance of success, go for it!!

Probably because you are highly literate as shown by your posts.
Unlike some who profess to be or aspire to be English teachers, as I'm sure PW, Xavia and Baldy will agree.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
36,846 Posts
Probably because you are highly literate as shown by your posts.
Unlike some who profess to be or aspire to be English teachers, as I'm sure PW, Xavia and Baldy will agree.
Some of my posts are barely literate :eek:

but yes, I know what you mean - just being able to speak a language doesn't qualify you to teach it...... you need to understand how it works, too

Just like any subject really - you can be 'good at' maths, but if you don't understand it inside out (& what's more be able to explain it) then you can't teach it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ah, I see. British English vs. American English has been a challenge for me this year. You don't realize the things you say until you start teaching the language. A recent example I ran into was "spelled" vs "spelt". I taught the past tense of "spell" as "spelt" and the next day one of my students came back and told me I was wrong. So I looked into it and found out that here in America "spelt" is not an acceptable form of the past tense of "spell", only "spelled" is. It's almost like teaching two different languages. I guess it's similar to Spanish in Spain vs. Spanish in Latin America.

Mrypg9, you're right, correct grammar is definitely a must! lol. One of the challenges for me in learning Spanish in an informal setting has been dealing with people that aren't even literate in their own language.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,456 Posts
Ah, I see. British English vs. American English has been a challenge for me this year. You don't realize the things you say until you start teaching the language. A recent example I ran into was "spelled" vs "spelt". I taught the past tense of "spell" as "spelt" and the next day one of my students came back and told me I was wrong. So I looked into it and found out that here in America "spelt" is not an acceptable form of the past tense of "spell", only "spelled" is. It's almost like teaching two different languages. I guess it's similar to Spanish in Spain vs. Spanish in Latin America.

Mrypg9, you're right, correct grammar is definitely a must! lol. One of the challenges for me in learning Spanish in an informal setting has been dealing with people that aren't even literate in their own language.

Don't let anyone tell you you're "wrong" when you are using your native tongue!!
What you do need to read up on is UK/ US differences which is easy enough on internet. Other differences are uses of present perfect, vocab concerning cars and clothes and spellings like centre and center.
Normally students are OK about these differences if you can point them out whilst teaching them and if you tell them it's like the differences between Spanish in Spain and Spanish in South America.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,399 Posts
Ah, I see. British English vs. American English has been a challenge for me this year. You don't realize the things you say until you start teaching the language. A recent example I ran into was "spelled" vs "spelt". I taught the past tense of "spell" as "spelt" and the next day one of my students came back and told me I was wrong. So I looked into it and found out that here in America "spelt" is not an acceptable form of the past tense of "spell", only "spelled" is. It's almost like teaching two different languages. I guess it's similar to Spanish in Spain vs. Spanish in Latin America.

Mrypg9, you're right, correct grammar is definitely a must! lol. One of the challenges for me in learning Spanish in an informal setting has been dealing with people that aren't even literate in their own language.
Well, I think correct grammar is important too. But the ability to communicate, however many grammatical errors you may commit, is my priority. Knowing you've made sense and that a foreign person can understand you is a huge confidence booster.

Don't forget, many Spanish, British and people of all nationalities communicate perfectly well while at the same time being ungrammatical. I rattle on in probably awful Spanish but get understood most of the time. Some of my mistakes I've probably picked up from emulating ungrammatical Spanish speakers I have contact with!

I've taught languages for many years and worked as a translator/interpreter and I have always found it more effective to teach grammar in context. Fear of making mistakes can truly inhibit some people - my OH for example who can probably speak better Spanish than I but is anxious lest she make a mistake..

When I lived in Prague I taught English to a small group of highly qualified civil servants at the Czech Statistical Institute. Nearly all were PhDs and had passed the highest exams in written English. Yet only one could speak English...a younger woman who had worked as a waitress in the UK. They were all terrified of making mistakes so I decided to start the lesson in Czech which I also spoke...badly.
Their eyes popped at some of the errors I made but when I asked if they understood me they all said they did.
So I said'Good. Now you talk and we'll worry about the finer points when your tongues are loosened'.
That approach worked for them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,456 Posts
Well, I think correct grammar is important too. But the ability to communicate, however many grammatical errors you may commit, is my priority. Knowing you've made sense and that a foreign person can understand you is a huge confidence booster.

Don't forget, many Spanish, British and people of all nationalities communicate perfectly well while at the same time being ungrammatical. I rattle on in probably awful Spanish but get understood most of the time. Some of my mistakes I've probably picked up from emulating ungrammatical Spanish speakers I have contact with!

I've taught languages for many years and worked as a translator/interpreter and I have always found it more effective to teach grammar in context. Fear of making mistakes can truly inhibit some people - my OH for example who can probably speak better Spanish than I but is anxious lest she make a mistake..

When I lived in Prague I taught English to a small group of highly qualified civil servants at the Czech Statistical Institute. Nearly all were PhDs and had passed the highest exams in written English. Yet only one could speak English...a younger woman who had worked as a waitress in the UK. They were all terrified of making mistakes so I decided to start the lesson in Czech which I also spoke...badly.
Their eyes popped at some of the errors I made but when I asked if they understood me they all said they did.
So I said'Good. Now you talk and we'll worry about the finer points when your tongues are loosened'.
That approach worked for them.
Mary and I have had this conversation before and we know that we back each other up on this one:)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
36,846 Posts
Don't let anyone tell you you're "wrong" when you are using your native tongue!!
What you do need to read up on is UK/ US differences which is easy enough on internet. Other differences are uses of present perfect, vocab concerning cars and clothes and spellings like centre and center.
Normally students are OK about these differences if you can point them out whilst teaching them and if you tell them it's like the differences between Spanish in Spain and Spanish in South America.
some of my students have decided to move to a South American country....... then they wouldn't need to learn 'vosotros' ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Pesky, I'll definitely make it a point to familiarize myself with the differences. Sometimes I'm not even sure which phrase or word comes from British dialect and which comes from American dialect. Having spent half of my life in each country, I've kind of just spliced the two together in my head.

Mrypg9, our class is set up where we are split into 2 groups for the first 2 hours, intermediate and beginner. I take the intermediate and and lead teacher takes the beginner. I was asked at the beginning of the year to focus on grammar and language structure while in the small groups. After a quick break, we bring the class together and focus on conversation and communication activities for the last 2 hours. That said, what you're saying makes perfect sense. As a volunteer, I didn't receive any training or instruction, neither did I have any experience teaching English beforehand. I definitely value advise from someone with teaching experience and much appreciate it. I'm hoping the TEFL course I plan on taking will help more with methodology and approach.

xabiachica, I'm dreading having to learn the vosotros form when I move to Spain! Other than a quick mention during Grammar Review, it's completely forgotten about during class. All of my teachers in college were from South America, and the same can be said about the Hispanics I hang out with. I spent 6 weeks in Spain about a year ago and was completely lost when people spoke in the vosotros form!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
395 Posts
I dived into the swimming pool
Spoken language varies by region, but in writing, "dived" is the preferred form in the USA.

I am a Northerner and say "dove," but someone from the "eastern middle bit" of the USA (e.g., Tennessee) might say "dived."

As for "spelt," the OP should be aware it is a variant and not incorrect.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22,399 Posts
Pesky, I'll definitely make it a point to familiarize myself with the differences. Sometimes I'm not even sure which phrase or word comes from British dialect and which comes from American dialect. Having spent half of my life in each country, I've kind of just spliced the two together in my head.

Mrypg9, our class is set up where we are split into 2 groups for the first 2 hours, intermediate and beginner. I take the intermediate and and lead teacher takes the beginner. I was asked at the beginning of the year to focus on grammar and language structure while in the small groups. After a quick break, we bring the class together and focus on conversation and communication activities for the last 2 hours. That said, what you're saying makes perfect sense. As a volunteer, I didn't receive any training or instruction, neither did I have any experience teaching English beforehand. I definitely value advise from someone with teaching experience and much appreciate it. I'm hoping the TEFL course I plan on taking will help more with methodology and approach.

xabiachica, I'm dreading having to learn the vosotros form when I move to Spain! Other than a quick mention during Grammar Review, it's completely forgotten about during class. All of my teachers in college were from South America, and the same can be said about the Hispanics I hang out with. I spent 6 weeks in Spain about a year ago and was completely lost when people spoke in the vosotros form!
My cardinal principle was to send the students from the lesson with something they could use, however small and unimportant, and even teach to others.
An obvious example: younger students would learn how to greet and ask 'How are you/' with appropriate responses ...they could then take this skill home and 'show off' to their family, even teach them how to say these things.

The other useful skill is 'piling bricks'....if you teach a useful phrase...say, 'Je voudrais..' the student can add already known vocabulary to create dozens of phrases...je voudrais deux kilos de pommes, je voudrais boire un cafe...' and so on. Being able to do this gives the student a feeling of empowerment which increases confidence.
Probably teaching you to suck eggs...:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,055 Posts
Probably because you are highly literate as shown by your posts.
Unlike some who profess to be or aspire to be English teachers, as I'm sure PW, Xavia and Baldy will agree.
Thanks for the compliment, but I think the true reason is that we are the only English residents in the capital Valverde and two of the only five on the island.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top