Saturday, October 29, 2011


Teaching babies English = coloring

Fire dancing

The usual dinner

Some girl making window art

Alexis´ student Beatriz´ family tree. (Yes, that is her as Hermione and me as her daughter.)


Alex´s birthday ladies

Packed train

Buying chocolate croissants with Suzy. Finally found a great bakery that gets my stamp of approval - La Mallorquina in Sol!

TEFL Teacher Lessons Learned: Vol. 1

…some learned the hard way, some learned vicariously, some pleasant surprises. To be continued!

#1: The actual teaching bit is like a cakewalk compared to the preparation; the real magic (and headache) happens during lesson planning.

#2: From David: For your morning classes, bring breakfast to eat while you wait for your students to show up 15 minutes late. 

#3: From David: Keep the lesson in your bag that only two students showed for to use again when those two students are absent.

#4: Though you may be prepared to be a “profe de ingles,” make sure you’re ready to handle the logistics too - in Spanish. If you know Spanish, skip to the next tip. If you’re like me and you rely on mime and gesture, read on.  Some phrases to know that will make your first week run more smoothly…
  •  I’m looking for _________ … (insert name of your “jefe” here - your boss, the big cheese, whoever is paying for your classes. :))
  • How do you get to ________.... 
  • ….on the XXth floor….
  • I will be here every Monday & Wednesday/Tuesday & Thursday/etc…
  • Where is the copy machine? I need to make copies etc.
  • Hi, I’m an English teacher
  • I need XYZ please…. Chairs, white board, table, etc.
#5: Check the forecast before you set off on your day - every day. Yeah….

Monday, October 3, 2011

Catching our breath

I’m staring at David napping next to me, chugging OJ and hoping this headache goes away before our sure-of-a-hell-of-a-time graduation party later tonight. What. a. month. I’m obsessed with this teaching thing, our TEFL classmates and all that we learned, Madrid, living with David, speaking Spanglish with a lisp, dipping everything in olive oil before I eat it, etc…. and I haven’t even started to TRAVEL yet.

There are lots of things we do in our lives for which we don’t give ourselves credit. That’s where the beauty of reflection comes in. (p.s. this blog and journals that David’s sister gave us have been great for saving our thoughts.) I have always wanted to become a teacher…and now I freaking did it. Thanks to my mama for reminding me that I achieved this dream/goal. I am so proud of David and me for deciding we wanted to do this, packing up our stuff, and DOING it. I’m also proud of my classmates for doing the same! We all have interesting past-life stories. :)

Natasha, our TEFL program director (whom I absolutely love), gave us a session on “Getting the Job” toward the end of the program. Though we were all tired as fudge (or “knackered” as the Brits say!), I managed to find my favorite piece of advice during her schpiel. When taking jobs, she said to not make decisions based on money. We’ll all want to, but don’t, she said. “Think about why you’re here, why you came here.” For those who are treating this as the start to a new career, then go crazy taking jobs. But for those who left 90-hour work weeks or stressful jobs, take care. “We are habitual people,” she said. And at that point, I knew her advice applied to me. I have this nasty habit of occasionally freaking out, pushing myself to take on more XYZ and killing myself until it’s perfect. I didn’t come here to do any of the above; I came here to balance a job and a life (and travel, duh). New goal: Spend more time smelling the roses I have and less time freaking out about planting more roses. Lol, OK you get it.

Tash also told us that we’d be surprised at how little we can live on. Confession: I actually haven’t checked my budget since we’ve been here, but that’s because David and I have only been spending on what we need. I mean seriously, a splurge these days means buying the amazing square pizza down the road instead of eating pasta at home…again. Did you know we don’t have a TV? Or Internet at home? And we very very recently got (pay-as-you-go) mobile phones? It’s lovely. Though one might think we’d kill each other out of boredom or annoyance, it’s not (always) like that. :) Seriously though, of course David and I argue, but there is so much fun and love packed into our tiny apartment.

K. Enough for now. Besitos!
P.S. Download this app so we can text message for free!

Greegs popping the champagne open for certificate ceremony!

Woo hoo!

Me with my small group members, Lindsay and Sarah + Alex lol