A month ago I boarded that flight which changed my life in an instance. Just to recap (in case you’re lazy and haven’t read my start here and about pages), I had applied for a teaching job in Spain while still pondering the meaning of life in London. I was invited to the final interview stage in Madrid, which entailed a two week training course. At this point, the job was definitely not secured, but I still took a chance, booked that flight and set off to Spain’s capital a week later.
Yes, this all seems a bit drastic and maybe even a bit crazy, but it made perfect sense to me. If you know me, you will agree that I am the first person to tell you to follow your dreams and make a change if you’re unhappy with your current situation. Most of you will proceed to tell me that’s easier said than done. So here’s me practicing what I preach.
Now, in my pursuit of happiness I arrived in Madrid knowing no one and nothing, which was part of the thrill of it. Here’s a little more on how I made more friends in my first weekend in Spain than in four years in the UK.
But, I would like to tell you a little about the course and how I got lucky by taking a chance. While still finishing my TEFL course in London, I applied to various random English schools in Spain. I didn’t have high hopes, as my experience was next to nothing and I wasn’t even in the country. Then, out of the blue the biggest and most famous English language school in Spain asked me for an interview (at the time I had no clue how popular this school really is). And the best part was, they didn’t even care that I had no teaching experience.
As I entered the snazzy office building the morning of the first training day, I was surprised to find 30 other candidates, all dressed up in suits and ties with anxious looks on their faces. We were herded from the unbearably hot canteen area to an unbearably cold classroom, where the suffering began. As I learnt the coming weeks, Madrileños love to blast their air cons, freezing anyone who dares to enter to death.
The training was strict, scary and strenuous. We were thrown into the deep end by having to teach our first class the second day of training. After an 8 hour day, we had 4 hours of homework and class prep to do, often resulting in a 5 hour sleep.
Eat, teach, sleep, repeat! Our students reviewed every class. Receiving very personal feedback was harsh, days were long and people started to leave.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and so after a very real survival of the fittest challenge, I signed the contract as a freelance teacher. Sleep deprivation has its way of making daily-life extremely funny, and thus I must admit I did have fun during the course. I loved when students left the class with a smile, and I felt good about sharing my knowledge.
Next week I start teaching english at businesses, which will be challenging and exciting all together.
What did I learn? Go for it! Then, don’t give up even if you want to. Work hard and it will work out. You can always make a change (I sound like multiple bumper stickers, but its true).
I may have gotten over the first hurdle and secured that job, but it so happened that I found myself homeless at the end of the two weeks. I was so exhausted and busy, I forgot to look for a home… Here’s what I did.