Twelve years ago I popped over to Spain to teach some English, pick up some Spanish, and learn the flamenco guitar. I only planned on staying for about a year, but a certain señorita (ex-student and now wife, and mother of our son and daughter) trapped me, made me fall in love with her, and has kept me under her leash ever since.
It took me a while to really settle over here. Deep down I’m a traveller. I’d just arrived after a two-year round the world adventure so it was hard going keeping my feet in the same country, little own the same city, for such a long time. If I hadn’t met my wife, I’d probably be teaching English in the depths of Tibet, finding myself in India, or, god forbid, teaching Economics at a secondary school back home in London.
The adventure of being a guiri (foreigner) in Andalucìa has been an exhausting one, both mentally and emotionally. A Novel Spain is my way of expressing to the world how I see life over here: the highs and lows, fun and annoying moments, fictitious and real stories, and perhaps some advice on the way.
I’ve been teaching English as a foreign language for nearly 14 years and writing about life as an ESL teacher for over 7 years. I’m DELTA qualified, passionate about helping students improve their English, and like to wake up and smell the coffee (especially when I’ve had a tough night with my two kids).
I have published two books.
How to Become an ESL teacher, a step by step guide to landing your first TEFL job teaching English abroad. This is a guide to anyone thinking of getting into TEFL/ESL, and giving up their life to teach English, plus maybe travel the world in the meantime.
Teaching English as a Foreign Land, a non-fiction travel literature book about my adventure travelling and teaching around the world has sold over 3,000 copies. I’ve had mainly 5 star reviews on amazon.com too. Of course a few of those were my mum, granny, and mates, but there are some genuinely positive remarks about my experience as well. And some snotty ones too.
So why listen to me?
Good question, my students don’t normally bother, especially when I’m ranting on about some anecdote about when I got robbed in Brazil, or had my bike stolen, again.
I’d like to think that after nearly 13 years teaching I’m doing something right. My students pass their exams, attendance is pretty good, most of them leave the class (or at least show some form of enjoyment) with a happy face and their limbs intact. I’ve only been threatened with getting the sack, oh, about 3 or 4 times, per week.
I’ve taught in Ecuador, Brazil, Australia, Thailand (which you can read about in my book) and now live and teach in Sevilla, Spain. I’m married to a Spanish woman and have two lovely kids (my wife is also lovely).
I guess you should mainly listen to me because I am positive about teaching. I have shitty days, mainly on Mondays, but hey, it’s better than working in a sales office in London, which is what I used to do. I try to keep on top of the TEFL world and like to think my ideas are creative. Saying that, I do tend to waffle, as you can see, so just pick the things you want to listen to.
Who are you?
I’m not trying to read your mind here, but rather let you know of the type of people who might be interested in following anovelspain.com.
Well, you’d have to be a mix of the following: an expat, a traveller, an ESL teacher, a fan of fiction set in Spain, and someone high on life.
Regarding ESL, you can either be a brand new teacher, i.e. someone who still doesn’t really know the difference between a noun and a verb, or an oldie who is getting a bit bored, frustrated, burnt out, and need some new ideas. Or just want to rant with some colleagues about why students never seem to get the difference between present simple and present continuous.
Hell, you could even just be a postman looking to run off to Spain and teach some English. As long as you have the slightest hint of passion for life abroad then A Novel Spain is for you.
So, if you’re still reading then start poking around the blog and be inspired, educated, or just entertained for an hour or so before those dreaded students turn up, or the kids get back from school. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs. Take it with a pinch of salt. Twelve years in Seville has done some strange things to me.