I’m currently coming to the end of my first two weeks of work here in Barcelona, so I thought it’d be a good time to share how it’s all been going so far.
I’m working in a private language school, not far from the Sagrada Familia, which is really great, because it means there’s just so much stuff to do on a break, and also a lot of really good cheap places to get lunch. The work has been going pretty well so far. I work six hour shifts at the school, which is shorter than some of the other teachers, but this is because I’m here until the end of December, whereas the people I’m living with are coming towards the end of their summer placements. I teach forty minute classes, where the focus is solely on speaking, with a few grammar points thrown in. It might not seem very much, but my speaking classes are only one part of the whole class that the students so when the come to the school.
The classes are spilt into three sections, each forty minutes long. The students start with a listening comprehension and other listening exercises, then come with me to do the forty minutes speaking, before finishing with reading and writing exercises, all on the computers we have downstairs in the school. It’s a really good system, because it means that they get to practice all forms of the language and are also “warmed up” for the speaking classes after they’ve done the listening.
The number of classes I teach in a day really depends on how many people book lessons on that day. For example, one day I had two classes in one shift, whereas yesterday, I taught four, including one double class for a guy who’d missed one through illness. An hour and twenty minutes seems like a long time, but with the teaching materials I’m provided by the school, it’s really easy to plan and structure a lesson, although sometimes it can be a little restricting, which is why sometimes with the more able students, I use the last five or ten minutes as general conversation time, which lets me find out a bit more about them and them about me.
The only gripe I have at the moment is the unusual working hours, but this is mainly down to the Spanish way of life, where they start early, don’t really work around midday, and then carry on late into the evening. This has meant that sometimes I haven’t got home until ten at night, but it’s only a few nights a week, so it’s manageable.
Other than that, I’ve really been enjoying the work, and I’m looking forward to the next few months.