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3 posts categorized "Anna Shailer"

So far, so good

After a hectic October, it seems that we are all settled in here in Madrid. I was lucky to get housing fairly early. My experience in a Spanish apartment has been really positive. Although I don't see my housemates very often (we all work at different times and in different places), I am thankful for the experience.

Working has been challenging and rewarding. We have a lot of freedom to plan lessons as we like. There are some resources that we must use, but other times when a client requests lessons on certain subjects or I can see that a client needs extra work on one aspect of English, I have the freedom to dedicate a lesson to phrasal verbs or comparative/superlative structures. 

We start our online Spanish classes next week. Placements tests were last week, including a difficult Skype conversation to test speaking ability. I was placed at the A2 level, which is honestly better than I expected. I am happy to finally get some class time in that is dedicated to learning Spanish. The way my schedule works, I teach two classes out in Madrid and then I will have my Skype class in the afternoon. I think that it will be useful as it is the same platform that my own clients use. This way, I will be better able to understand what my clients do to prepare for my class. I have not met my teacher yet, it is someone different from who I talked with when I was completing my placement test. 

I don't get to speak much Spanish during work hours, and I must confess that I listen to audiobooks and music in English, which is something that I should change if I really want to engage in what is going on here in Madrid. It is very easy to zone out on the train on the way to work. I have started meeting with an intercambio (language exchange) group once a week. I wish that we could meet more often, to be honest.

I will be sure to give more details next month after I have been practicing my Spanish for a few more weeks. 


The beginning

So much has changed in 3.5 weeks. I arrived in Spain almost exactly a month ago. I am now working and I have my own room with Spanish roommates. I love my neighborhood, although I have not entirely explored it.

In later posts, I will regale everyone with advice on how to track down lost luggage, and how to navigate speaking with a pharmacist and going to the doctor. But for now, some information about what it is like to begin working here in Madrid.

As for the program, The CETS course is over. The two weeks course is very involved, but in hindsight I think the program is helpful for instructors to prepare classes and understand the teaching methodology at Learnlight. (For those who don't know, Learnlight is the education tech company that CIEE work abroad interns work for during the program).

This week is our first week out in Madrid navigating public transportation. It is tiring, but I already feel like I understand the city better since I spend a fair amount of time going from one client to the next. I was late in getting my metro pass, so my public transportation experience was a bit stressful for a while. Note that if you are over 25, public transportation outside of Zone A will be more expensive. But, if you have to teach a class outside of Zone A, you will receive a small bonus for that class - meaning that you earn a few extra euros for traveling so far.

I must say that I get a certain amount of satisfaction after a long day of rushing around the city. It is so different from my "normal" midwestern life. This experience is different from studying abroad and requires a lot more energy (this could be because of all the everyday adjustments that I have made. I'm also not 20 years old anymore). But, I am taking joy from the small accomplishments that I make everyday. It's the little things that need to be celebrated.

Preparations and Musings

I will be leaving in about a week to come over to Madrid to begin my new adventure. This is my first blog entry about my experience with the CIEE Teach in Spain - Professional program. I am both excited and nervous, which is a strange feeling because I have moved abroad before, but this time it’s different. I don’t know for sure, but I am most likely one of the older students in the Teach in Spain program. I’m 33 and I am basically restarting a part of my career. I realize that I am a bit more cautious than I was thirteen years ago in terms of what to pack, who I contact to get information, thinking about certain aspects of the program. But, building on to my career with a move abroad, in a country where I don’t really speak the language, is exactly what I want and need to do right now.

I’ve studied with CIEE in France (all the way back in 2004). That semester abroad in college changed so many things for me. I continued to study and work in teaching both French and ESL for ten years after that. I am hoping this year in Madrid will bring the same kinds of changes and re-invigorate and reaffirm the work as a teacher that I began after my college graduation. Now, I’m taking a slight step back to learn Spanish and to work in another European city.

I have visited Madrid several times and I have friends who live there. So far, from the perspective of sitting behind a computer screen in my apartment in the Midwest, everyone has been warm and welcoming about my participation in the program. In some ways, I know what to expect from a program like this: teacher training, setting up bank accounts, finding an apartment, buying a phone, etc. But the rest of it is a mystery, in the best way possible. I know it will all get done, although the language barrier is a bit of a struggle for me. I am so happy to know that I will have help and support along the way. I look forward to learning more about Spanish culture. I know some information, but as I make my preparations, I realize that I have so much to learn.

Anna Shailer

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