|Well here I am for the next 4 months. I had such a great time in Bogotá practicing english with people that I decided to come to Barcelona to do a CELTA course on how to teach english to non-native speakers.
Week one has finished and it was a bit hard. I knew it wasn't going to be easy as we really didn't get taught any grammar at school..... so I've had to do quite a bit of reading!! There are 12 of us in the class: 4 from Spain, 2 Dutch, 4 Brits, an American and an Italian. I'm in good company, all the native speakers are finding the grammar difficult. Haven't taught anyone yet, that comes after Easter and I'm extremely nervous. There are so many "don't do's..." plus the fact language teaching has moved on since I was at school when all we did was imitate and repeat parrot fashion that I'm afraid I'm really going to cock it up....well I guess that's the learning process :o)
As the course is 2 days a week I've got plenty of time to discover the city, it's changed a lot since I was last here in 1998!
Well course is now over. As predicted I couldn't sleep the night before my first teaching session. When my time came I got so nervous, I couldn't say anything...... I clutched my notes like a security blanket and couldn't seem to remember anything without my notes even though I'd spent hours planning the lesson.... the first 5 lessons were with a group of elementary students many of whom were housewives learning english so they could use it while travelling. It was extremely unnerving giving instructions to the class and they look back at you with expectant faces not having understood a single word. I think I would liken it to telling a joke and dying on stage with tumbleweed blowing along for special effect. It was bad, but, as you're being observed the whole time you have to try and get yourself out of it as soon as you can. The first time it happened to me I broke out into a sweat and started gabbling before I managed to recover myself and salvage something from my 35 minutes of glory.
The teaching experience did get better, I think it was more me recognising when I was not being understood and turning things around. It was very different to accounting where there are few surprises, at any time any of the 12 students could ask something that would floor you. It happened to me a couple of times. We were told not to make stuff up but to tell the truth and say you'd get back later with an answer, thank God for my grammar books!! All in all it was good and I`m glad I did the course. Now I can be let loose teaching english or even beginner's spanish... I did the course at International House here in Barcelona and I highly recommend the course to anyone thinking of taking up teaching!
As the course was only 2 days a week I had plenty of time to discover the city and improve my spanish. As there are so many language schools here, there are lots of people who want to practice speaking english that plus a general reluctance to pay for classes meant that inter-cambios were they way forward. It works by one person speaking their native language giving the other person a chance to practice. Through inter-cambios, I met Jordi and Verónica. Jordi very kindly got me season ticket for a game at Camp Nou. A disappointing game where Ronaldinho scored a penalty, later got sent off and Barça drew the game 1-1 with Real Betis. At the end of the game fans were waving white hankies and booing the players. The fans didn't have very many songs, I think there were two involving lots of swearing and slating the other team in Barcelona, Espanyol. None of the delightful ditties that you used to hear at Highbury or Anfield. The draw was to prove costly as Real Madrid ended up winning the league.
Verónica was not interested in football she, her oyfriend Andrés and her family have been introducing me to Catalan culture and other regions of Catalonia. So far I've been to San Feliu de LLobregat and seen castellers (human castles) where kids climb up to the top. Takes a lot of nerve, Verónica's neice, Ana does it. Also went to a roses exhibition and on 23 June (San Joan) we had a big lunch ate coca (cross between cake and bread decorated with pine nuts, custard or candied peel) and later on I went to the beach in Barcelona (2am) which was full of people. I estimated that everybody in the city under the age of 50 (including tourists were there). There were clubs on the beach (lots of electronic music) and people letting off fireworks willynilly (scary but good)and plenty of cava being drunk!
Monserrat and Sitges are close to the city. Montserrat is home to an old monastery up in the mountains, it's very picturesque, quiet and serene. Sitges on the other hand is a bit livelier. As Lizzie and I walked down the streets to the beach I thought I was in Brighton. I can see why a lot of foreigners want to live there!