TEFL PROFILE Andrew PooleAge
: 35Originally from
: The States (The Left Coast)Current location
: Madrid, SpainHow long have you been in Spain?
Over three yearsWhat were your motivations for teaching English?
I'm one of the few people I know who entered this profession Intentionally - most people just do it because it's the only possible way to live abroad. I genuinely like teaching - It engages me and makes me laugh a lot.Did you receive TEFL certification before you began and where?
I received a TEFL certificate before I came. I got It In Alaska.Can you describe your experiences teaching English in Madrid?
My experiences have been very good. I've met a lot of very Interesting people who have taught me a lot. Once you have experience as a teacher, you can just enjoy the profession. Your first year there will be some rough spots - OK, maybe a lot. Some classes will drive you crazy, etc. Talk to the people who have been at It for a while. Learn to think like the students and not like the book. The book can be an Interesting tool, but It should be recognized It Is a point of departure. Books were written for "the average student" - you don't have "average students" In your class you have real, live Individuals. Try to access their personalities and let their Interests drive the class. If you know your profession, you can make any topic a learning experience.What do you like about the city you have chosen?
I love Madrid's non-stop energy - I thrive on that. I know a lot of people who consider It more active than NY - especially at night. I didn't want to live In an International city like Barcelona, I wanted to live In a more traditionally Spanish city. I make really good use of the cultural aspects as well - I am at the museums and galleries almost every week.What do you hate about your city?
I think people who hate Madrid should go home. I am not very Interested in hearing people complain.Do you have any advice for aspiring teachers and adventure seekers who are thinking about Spain as an option?
Come expecting adventure and not comfort. Come knowing that you aren't here to make money or have all of the amenities of your native country. On one hand, come as open as possible, on the other hand you should know exactly why you are here. Almost all of my friends who are really happy are here as novelists, photographers, dancers, journalists, yoga teachers, business owners, language lovers, etc. They didn't come expecting Spain to entertain them - they knew exactly what they wanted from the experience. Being passive and expecting others to entertain you just Isn't a good strategy in any situation, Is It? If you have this Idea firmly established n your mind, everything else will (eventually) fall into place. Also, if you come and start complaining about stupid stuff, I'll probably punch you in the nose and suggest you go back home.
Expect an adrenaline-filled, chaotic first year. You'll likely be a bit manic - expect all of your good days to be five-times as good as normal and all of your bad days, of course, will be five times as bad as normal. You just have to remind yourself, "there are no bad experiences, just good stories". That bit of advice got me through my first year. From this point of view, swindling landlords, heart-breaking lovers and near-death Illnesses seem like merely Interesting characters and events In your favorite novel.Do you have any suggestions for newcomers to Madrid who are looking to have a good time?
Avoid the expat community to the greatest extent possible or your will never learn Spanish! And once again, know why you are here.
-------------------------------------Profile by Daniel Murphy for MAP Languages.com: Learn Spanish, Teach English & More.