Diary submitted by Christion W., Erasmus+ internship in Valencia
What are the main constraints in the classroom facing TEFL teachers? (large multilevel classes, textbooks, curriculum, hours, motivation, special needs)
From my personal experience of Teaching in the classroom, I have discovered a few constraints that I have faced as a TEFL Teacher in Spain. First of all, the fact that It has been an issue for me to adjust to the Spanish Timetable. Working 30 hours a week is not that much but 2 to 5-hour breaks between morning and evening classes has forced me to go home sometimes or just hang around in the office doing nothing. Over time, I have been slowly adjusting and finding things to do such as staying in the staffroom to mark work which at first, I was doing at home but slowly realized that this was counterproductive. Finishing at 8:50 pm most days has been quite a drain on my spirit for waking up in mornings.
Another constraint I´d like to highlight is that some students are not motivated to learn English at all. I have had some classes where some students would be completely disengaged with the class and leave the classroom every now and again to make a phone call. It seems that this is more evident in the B1 classes and hardly happens in B2-C1 classes.
While browsing the blog posts on the TEFL Trainer website I could see that I was not the only person who was experiencing difficulties in adjusting to the lifestyle of an English teacher in Spain as well as coping with disengaged students. Mary had posted a blog stating that she had struggled a great deal adjusting to her timetable when she had arrived In Spain and had also experienced a disengagement amongst her students. (What are the main constraints in the classroom facing TEFL teachers? 2019). I can see that this is a common theme that just needs some adjusting to as time moves on like all new things in life.
In addition to the lack of engagement amongst beginner students as well as timetable adjustments, I have also experienced a last-minute approach that most teachers take before they begin to teach their classes. I have found this extremely difficult to adjust myself and adapt because I have to revise a grammar rule or read through an activity 10 minutes before the next class but as the weeks go by, I am slowly getting used to the fast pace culture which I assume is different depending on the language school. I know that it’s just a matter of time for me to get into the full swing of teaching in Spain.