Ian moved to Barcelona in 2011 to do a TEFL course and since then has been working as an English teacher and as a TEFL tutor. He’s been working for TEFL Iberia since 2016.
How did you get involved in the TEFL industry?
I first thought about working in TEFL when I was travelling around Australia. Lots of the backpackers I met were speaking English as a second language, and I found I had a knack for explaining things and helping them with their English. When I went back to London I kept on thinking about teaching, and eventually decided on a career change. I moved to Barcelona to do my TEFL course in 2011. I had been here before on holiday and I wanted to live somewhere that I could learn Spanish. I hadn’t counted on Catalan of course!
And when did you start working for TEFL Iberia?
I started working for TEFL Iberia doing demonstration classes while I was working towards my DELTA qualifications. I’d been teaching English classes for Languages4Life which shares a premises with TEFL Iberia, and I liked the school and the environment. When I finished my DELTA qualification TEFL Iberia were looking for a tutor, and I jumped at the chance!
I still teach English classes now, mostly business and in-company classes, and I like that balance between teaching English and training new English teachers. It’s nice to help people into the world of teaching while still keeping that connection with the job going for myself.
What does a typical day of work look like for you?
There is no typical day of work, which is one of the things I love about my job! I have in-company classes in the centre of the city, teaching business English in company offices. I’ve been teaching those groups for two years now, so it’s almost like teaching a group of friends! On my teacher-training days I’m in the school from 10am to 7pm. The input sessions are in the morning, where I teach the trainees grammar and lexical points. AFter lunch the focus switches to lesson preparation and then observing the trainees teaching the practice classes. After class the trainees get feedback.
One of my favourite parts of my job is getting to see the trainees develop as teachers. Watching our trainees learn a new concept, and then immediately getting the idea to try these new concepts out in a lesson is really rewarding, and it’s very professionally satisfying to see their progress!
What’s your best advice for anyone thinking of doing the TEFL course?
I would advise anyone thinking of doing a TEFL to take the experience seriously – it’s a lot of hard work, but we’ll give you all the support you need. It’s only four weeks, it is intense, but you’ll learn so much about teaching, you’ll be living in a new city, and meeting other people on the same path as you. The people who really make the most of the opportunity are the ones you see two years later, who’ve really grown as people and love what they do. You get out what you put in, so give it your all!
Is there anything you would change about your TEFL journey?
I came to Barcelona too soon! I’ve met lots of TEFL teachers who’ve taught all over the world, but when I moved to Barcelona I just fell in love with the city and now I can’t bring myself to move away! I should have spent a year teaching English in Asia or in Central America somewhere, but realistically I probably won’t do it now. I’ve put down too many roots in Barcelona.
Finally, what’s your favourite thing about your job?
I love how each day is different. Each group of trainees that comes through the course is different, and even though I’m in the role of educator, there’s so much opportunity for me to learn. It’s a real relationship of equals with the trainees and I really enjoy getting the chance to work with so many different people from different cultures.