Where are you from and what languages do you speak?
My name is Andreu and I’m from Spain. I chose Prague because it is a wonderful city with a great atmosphere. I was born close to Barcelona, I can speak Catalan, Spanish, English, and a little bit of French.
How is the course for you as a non-native?
It’s a bit more challenging because you don’t have the same range of vocabulary a native speaker has, but you can get through the course easily. Maybe I struggle a bit when it comes to writing, I need slightly more time to think about what I want to write, but it’s not limiting me in any way. I passed CAE some time ago and got a C2 result, so I had C1/C2 before starting the course.
Do you see it as an advantage or as a disadvantage?
I think it’s easier in a sense because you are much more cautious about grading your language. You know what struggles a learner can have because you’ve been through this process, so it can be a big advantage. You know what problems students might have and you’re more aware of typical mistakes.
Of course, it has its downsides as well, you sometimes don’t have such wide vocabulary or you don’t have the same speed of speech as a native speaker.
Had you taught before you joined the course?
I taught back in Spain for two years. I’m originally a history teacher, that’s my main specialization, but I have a little bit of experience with teaching English. It was quite funny actually because when I was teaching for the first time, I got 10 very young and super hyperactive students and I had to learn the hard way.
Would you say you’re learning something new in the course even though you’ve worked as a teacher?
I can say that this course has been useful, I already knew some of the things we learn here, but there’s a lot of new stuff. We got a lot of resources and it’s always good to have different perspectives and see new ways of teaching. This is the only way you can add more skills and become a better teacher – by learning from others. It’s definitely been useful for me!
You’ve already had some teaching practice with students, so how did it go?
The group was great, they were very engaged and talkative. It was easy to do speaking activities with them, I enjoyed it. All the students were good to work with and it was a good experience.
Did you learn anything new from the feedback you got after your teaching practice session?
We went through the observations that the trainer had made during my class and I learned about my errors. I am more aware of them now. I have problems with timing, I sometimes overcook the lessons and make them a bit longer and I know that I need to reduce the teacher’s talking time, so now I have something to work on. But overall, I am happy with how it went.
The feedback helps you to see things from a different perspective. You might consider something useful for your students and when someone tells you it could be done differently, it helps you realise that there are more ways to do it. It opens your eyes and makes you see that teaching is not just one straightforward way, there are more paths you can take. Some of them are useful and some of them are not.
What’s your plan after the course? Do you want to stay in Prague?
I don’t know yet, but Prague is for sure one of the possibilities. If I find a good job here, I will stay, but I am open to travelling to other countries. I haven’t decided yet.