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Try TEFL Teaching in Spain!

My TEFL Experience is a small, family-run company that sends volunteer TEFL teachers to Academia Solidaria - a non-profit language academy in the heart of Valencia, Spain. ...

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My TEFL Experience Reviews

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Feel the fear but do it anyway!

Don't be put off by my title. It just pretty much sums up how every volunteer teacher feels when they arrive at Academia Solidaria, whether they've had previous teacher training or have never stood in front of a whiteboard before. It's natural, it's expected - and believe me it goes very quickly, to be replaced with total joy at the opportunity you've been given.
Accept that you will initially experience the fear of the unknown, then take full advantage of observing other teachers in the classroom, discussing any problems/anxieties/lesson queries with Alyx and Paul, taking time to read through your lesson plans and preparing fully. Every other teacher is in exactly the same state of nervousness as you - and you will find that a support group naturally evolves, providing a very happy atmosphere for the whole length of your stay.
This is an very relaxed environment that, in short, works. Having become great judges of characters since starting the school, Alyx and Paul know anyone who works alongside them will be naturally conscientious, reliable and willing to improve their teaching English as a second language. If you care enough to be there as an unpaid teacher you will also care about preparing your lessons thoroughly from the plans provided (I cannot emphasise this enough. You only have to have one major glip in a lesson and you'll know what I mean!); care about improving your skills and care very much about what you are doing for your students. None of this is accompanied by pressure from anyone so confidence can be built up by your own self-learning from mistakes.
On the practical side you are provided with a timetable for your 90-minute lessons with levels ranging from elementary to pre-intermediate and intermediate. Some days you will teach the same lesson twice meaning the second time around you can correct any wrongs from the previous one. You will also take one-hour conversation classes which give you the chance to pick your subject and be creative to get the students chatting. There is a two-hour lesson on Fridays in which you tailor two of the week's lessons for a brand new student group. The earliest lesson is at 9.30am; the latest ending around 7.15pm. You may have two or three lessons a day. Once settled in you are likely to be observed during one of your lessons by Alyx or Paul. This is NOT a negative experience (CELTA course people will know all about this!) but a positive one to make suggestions over any weaknesses in your teaching, to give guidance and to help you meet the teaching standards and requirements. No one has the perfect lesson. Everyone feels they could have done better at the end of a lesson.
My personal commonsense points:
1. Make sure you can do everything you are asking the students to do - and that you know the answers to all exercises and possible questions (especially anything to do with grammar!).
2. Plans for every lesson are provided but it really is worth spending some time familiarising yourself with both the teacher's lesson guide and the students' exercises.
3. Get to the school ahead of each lesson to familiarise yourself with the 'audio box' (it's easy!) if your lesson involves listening and to ensure you are organised.
4. Ensure you know each step of your lesson and how long each takes. You may want to have a'crib sheet' with various lesson ingredients highlighted in different colours to keep the lesson flowing without panic breaks.
5. Make sure you involve ALL students. It is so easy to concentrate on those who want to answer all questions and ignore those at the end of the classroom who really need your attention too.
6. Feel like running away? Remember there is only ever one first lesson. Get through that and you will be genuinely looking forward to the the next.

Do I sound like I breezed through my two-week stint at Academia Solidaria? Not at all. I am one of those who arrive shaking with fear and assuming I am going to waste everyone's time. I didn't feel confident and I didn't feel competent, despite having passed an intensive CELTA course earlier this year. The approach Alyx and Paul have proves that the most is achieved in a relaxed but professional set up. They do not just sit back and run the school but together with mega efficient Claudia, teach as well.
Everyone has different reasons for signing up for a volunteer teaching stint here. It could be to enhance travelling opportunities, bring about a life or job change , or like me, meet a personal challenge. If you fit into any of these, then don't hesitate to spend some time on this programme.
You won't know how good it makes you feel about yourself or how good it feels to pass even just a little of your learning on to others until you've done it.

Program: Try TEFL Teaching in Spain!

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Host School or Placement

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Compensation & Benefits

    N/A

  • Support Services

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Community

    10

Highly beneficial and fun!

I had an excellent experiencing teaching abroad at Academia Solidaria. Here is why:

1) My lessons were planned ahead of time for me, but I was still given freedom and times within the class to customize with my own supplemental exercises
2) Alyx and Paul were always open-hearted to helping me discuss/understand the lessons
3) The class sizes were manageable and my students were great listeners/hard workers
4) The apartment I was placed in was a reasonable walking distance to the academy
5) I learned a lot from my roommates who came from all over the world to volunteer
6) The teacher's notes were very detailed, so it made it easy to understand what to do and why the lessons were written as they were
7) My students were very kind and gave me lots of positive feedback that will help me grow as a teacher

Overall, I'd recommend this program to anyone and I hope to be back in Valencia again someday!

Program: Try TEFL Teaching in Spain!

  • My TEFL Experience responded to this review July 28, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Thanks Ryan!

    It was great having you with us :)

    Have a great summer, and hopefully we'll hear from you again in the future!

    Best wishes,
    Alyx and Paul

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I would come back any day...

The school and students are an absolute credit to Paul and Alyx and I can't think of a better place to have spent in order to get a feel for teaching Spanish students.
The lesson plans where made so accessible and flexible that it's perfect for not only new teachers but also teachers who have some experience. Being given a beautiful coherent lesson plan, all the materials and recordings is an absolute god send!
Everything was so well structured and easy to follow it made the whole process more enjoyable.

The academy is wonderful and Claudia is amazing always being on hand to make sure everything is available ready to teach.
Paul and Alyx's advice and guidance was great and they were always around if you had any questions.

Also, Paul and Alyx's hospitality has been second to none. I've never met someone as welcoming as you both! They made it so easy to feel at home and banished any nerves I had on my first day. The apartment was beautiful in a great location and very clean with everything you could need!

Program: Try TEFL Teaching in Spain!

  • My TEFL Experience responded to this review July 07, 2017 at 6:55 AM

    Thanks Kate :)

    We loved having you with us - come back soon!

    Best wishes,
    Alyx and Paul

    xXx

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My favourite TEFL experience

I loved everything about my 6 weeks in Valencia. My students were grateful and enjoyable to teach. The staff were really amazing also, and made the stay one to remember!

I would recommend this programme for extra teaching practice, it provides you with a stable atmosphere to help build confidence in teaching English as a foreign language.

Program: Try TEFL Teaching in Spain!

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Community Engagement

    6

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

My TEFL experience

I would highly recommend doing this to anyone who is unsure or a newly qualified Tefl teacher. Alyx and Paul are lovely and Gil is very helpful too. I found having my teaching observed very beneficial as I was able to follow through on feedback given, and perfect my teaching. My students were very nice and made me feel very welcome.

Program: Try TEFL Teaching in Spain!

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