Looking back at my first year of teaching English in Spain is like looking back at pictures of yourself in middle school. You think, “My God! What was I thinking?”, but usually you manage to laugh while you reap some sort of pleasure in how far you have progressed since then. How, just thinking about those years brings you such a nostalgic, warm feeling, yet, you would rather die than repeat those years.
How, if you were, say, in the most desperate of dark places, you might think about selling gypsy fruit in front of the metro in the freezing cold rather than go back to that TEFL time. Or how you would rather sell yourself in exchange for gypsy fruit just to survive living on the hard streets of Madrid – in the freezing cold and rain – instead of going back to that TEFL time.
Have I gone too far?
In retrospect, I had it pretty good. I was hired by the first “academy” I interviewed with. And the academy did seem to have a respectable reputation. The interview was a little odd, but nothing like my friend, Christine’s, experience where she had to be interviewed by someone with Tourette Syndrome. (I’m not joking and just so you know - I have nothing against people with Tourette’s.)
I had to give an impromptu class for the interviewer. He was actually a very nice guy who I subsequently came to respect in the office. The only man in the office, the crazy brujas upstairs kept little Brian in the basement. It was as if he was being punished by the brujas or they just wanted to keep him hidden in the basement so they could eat him in case food fell scarce.
Anyway, Brian was very tall English man, who was, at first, very serious and professional during the interview. This is why it was impossible to keep from losing it when this rather reserved Englishman suddenly started impersonating a low-level English speaker of Spanish descent.
I so wish that I could re-enact the fake 20 minute class I was required to give Brian for you, but it went something like this:
Me: “Okay class (wink, wink), so today we are going to be talking about fruit. We will be talking about adjectives that describe fruit. ”
Fake Spanish Brian:”Bah, wah is foot?”
Me: “Well… fruit is fruit. We are going to be talking about apples, bananas, kiwis, strawberries, etc…. ”
Fake Spanish Brian:”Bah, wah is stawvery?”
Me:”Well, strawberries are a red, small fruit that are very healthful for your diet”
Fake Spanish Brian:”What is ret? What is elfpul? Wha is de- ate? ”
Do you see where this was going? I mean, he was actually heckling me! It was impossible to carry on like that so I just started laughing.
To my surprise, they hired me. And that is how I entered the wonderful land of TEFL teaching – or what I like to call Teflonia.
I always wondered if Brian and the brujas had always intended to hire me from the start. That maybe it was just a formality to do the class part of the interview and that if maybe, in his own little way, Brian was just screwing with me the entire time.