I would have laughed in your face if you had told me 8 years ago that I would be teaching English in Spain and taking groups of students to the U.K and Ireland for a month each year but here I am! Prior to living in Seville I had been a construction worker!

I had always wanted to be in Spain one way or the other. I was tired of the U.K weather but I obviously wanted to be able to see my family and friends without breaking the bank. I had visited many times, albeit more touristy holidays with all the usual trappings of home comforts, English breakfasts, newspapers, English speaking staff etc. However, I began to find myself increasingly drawn to the more traditional facets of the Spanish culture with each successive visit. The food, music and generally more relaxed way of life.

In 2007 I came to Seville and found myself facing a very different Spain from the one I had grown up knowing. It wasn´t like the “Costa del Sol” . Sure the people were friendly but I became aware of a new desire to integrate myself into the culture, learn a bit of the lingo and become more than just an ex-pat. It was very apparent from my limited conversations with the Spanish people I encountered that learning English was very important for them. They took a keen interest in the language, as I did of Spanish, and on many occasions found myself involved in impromptu “intercambios” (language exchange) while having a tapa or beer.

It was early 2008 when I decided to take the plunge and do a CELTA course at IH Seville. Up until that point I had been giving private classes but knew that if I was to really move forward, I would need some methodology and real classroom experience. I obtained a “Pass B” (a high pass) that summer which came as a surprise to me because I had never really studied grammar until the CELTA.

Upon getting my certificate I began the laborious task of going from school to school armed with C.V´s and a broad smile, patiently waiting for the DOS to have a minute of time with me. It can be a very deflating task. I began to feel all the momentum I had gained from the CELTA course melting away with each passing day and wondered at some moments whether this was going to work out at all. Eventually after nearly a month of trying, I received a call back from a small language school. They couldn´t offer much in the way of hours or pay but I really didn´t care! I started teaching the next day!

As my first school year drew ever closer to the summer, I knew that I wanted to advance and develop myself as a teacher, TEFL has so many different areas of professional development that I wanted to explore them. However the small school I was at couldn´t offer any real training or help me get to where I wanted to be….Enter Spainwise…..

A colleague in my little school suggested that we take it upon ourselves to go to Cordoba for “Spainwise” I had never heard of it up to this point and decided to give it a try. We took a free bus from Seville to the event and I suddenly realized upon entering that I had found something that was going to offer options, ideas and most importantly for me at the time, opportunities. I attended workshops and managed to cover more ground and make more headway in a few hours than I had in a couple of weeks dragging myself around the city. I had several options that very day and felt spoilt for choice, a stark contrast to just a year earlier. The fact that it is held before the summer gave me a more relaxed approach knowing that I still had months to go before the start of the new school year.

I had a second interview with St James Language Center back in Seville and was offered a job thereafter. That was 3 years ago and a lot has changed for me since then. I have had the chance to find areas of my teaching that I want to develop as well as other aspects of the profession. I now have around 50 B1 students under my wing which is an area of teaching I am really enjoying and feel I have an aptitude for. I am in charge of the Schools social program which has spawned such activities as “speed friending” for adults and Christmas/ Halloween events for kids. I would say that my biggest accomplishments from a personal point of view would have to be giving a talk at the ACEIA Conference (to help fledgling teachers survive their first year!) and the international program. To be given sole responsibility for a group of young students abroad for a month is quite staggering for someone who didn´t think he would even find a teaching post just 4 years ago!