How is teaching to preschoolers in Spain compared to your country?
In Ireland, I taught in English which is the children’s first language but in Spain, since English is not their first language, it’s a lot more challenging, which makes it a lot more fun. It is so fulfilling and I always feel so proud and accomplished when the children ask for things in English. It’s so amazing to watch how fast young children learn and how much they enjoy the language because I always make sure that English is FUN! Therefore, they are always engaged and excited when it’s English time.
Did you find the university course useful?
The course provided by the program was very useful. The online tutorials and discussions were extremely beneficial, as we were constantly sharing ideas and tips with other program participants so we all learned a lot. What better way to learn than from others doing the same thing as you?
What did you learn from your school tutor and colleagues?
I was extremely lucky with my tutor at the school: she was so helpful, understanding, and kind throughout the entire year. My colleagues were always teaching me new things about Spain, recommending places for me to visit, etc. Not only did I improve my Spanish from my colleagues but learned about the educational system in Spain, which is something I’ve always been interested in.
What was the most valuable thing about moving to Spain to teach English to preschoolers?
Working as an Early Childhood teacher and living in Spain with a host family has given me first-hand knowledge of Spanish schools and Spanish life. In fact, I feel that teaching ESL to preschoolers is the most valuable skill in my professional career. Teaching English as a second language to two to five-year-olds is challenging, but I noticed that I made my activities more interesting and provoking in order for them to understand. I feel that I became very creative as time went by. The skill to be able to teach English as a foreign language is extremely valuable to me.
Why should Early Childhood recent graduate students apply to this program?
The program is great. It is very beneficial and you learn a lot. I’m sure my experience teaching English abroad will set me far apart from other applicants in any position I apply for, as international experience is extremely valuable in many jobs. Teaching English abroad proves my ability to adapt to a new environment and to live and work with people from different cultural backgrounds. I will always have something interesting to talk to about in an interview regarding my experience abroad.
Aside from this, Spain is a beautiful country with beautiful people. You will meet friends for life, that’s for sure. There is so much to do and see. I traveled to a ridiculous amount of Spanish cities, towns, and villages. It is so cheap to travel around here. Spain has the most beautiful beaches and a wonderful ski mountain in Sierra Nevada, Granada. Sincerely, I can only recommend this program. It has changed my life.
What are you currently doing?
I’m currently working in Monaita, as they hired* me. After I completed my year with Meddeas, in July I received an email from the school director offering me a position in the school. I thought about it day in and day out and finally I decided I’d pause my plans at home and accept the job. I sincerely couldn’t be happier. This year I’m teaching three-year-olds, it is really wonderful. They learn from me and I learn from them. It’s amazing!
* Only EU passport or work-permit holders can get hired long term by a European school.
Getting hired by the school after the program is an exceptional situation and most participants return to work in their home country
Catalina O’Brien, recent graduate from UCC (Ireland)