#24/7 VALENCIA: Could you tell us something about your background and education?
My name is Isabel, I’m from Valencia and I’ve always wanted to live abroad and travel. I did my PGCE in the UK and then worked at a Secondary School near Brighton for two years, teaching Spanish and French. By the way, all my respect to British teachers, some of the most hard-working people I’ve ever met!
After that I spent three years in Shanghai, China, teaching English and Spanish to children and teenagers, which I remember as some of the best years of my life! Now I’ve been in Valencia since 2018 teaching Spanish to adults, both at language schools and as a freelance teacher.
I have a degree in Translation and Interpreting and trained in 2017 at International House Barcelona to become a Spanish teacher for adults, which was a turning point for me in terms of my approach to language teaching and discovered for me what communicative teaching is really about.
24/7 VALENCIA: What is ‘In the Mood for Spanish?
Have you watched the movie ‘In the mood for love’? Well, it was my favourite movie for quite a few years and I liked the fact that it contained the word “mood” because emotions play such a big role in learning. “In the mood for Spanish” is my professional website, and with this name I want my students to remember that learning a language is a pleasure and a journey that both the teacher and learner undertake together.
24/7 VALENCIA: Describe a typical Spanish lesson…
My lessons differ depending on what the student needs and is interested in, but we always start with some conversation…even with beginner students! We sometimes use books from the publishing house Difusión, which gives us a very clear structure, but with other students we focus more on conversation using articles or videos to work with. When it comes to teaching grammar I tend to introduce it within a context that is interesting for the student, instead of ploughing directly through rules and exercises. I basically listen to my students a lot, which I think is essential, and I then pick a few mistakes from our conversations to look at together.
24/7 VALENCIA: Do you do face-to-face lessons and online too?
Yes, I do both! Most of my teaching is online and one to one, with people who live in Valencia. However, I also have several face to face groups, which is something I missed from my time teaching at schools. For example, I have two groups with whom we review B1 and B2 grammar through conversation, mostly. We meet at a beautiful cafe in Cabanyal.
24/7 VALENCIA: Have you seen the Spanish language grow globally in the 21st century?
Definitely, particularly in Valencia. I remember when I was maybe 18 years old and I heard about teaching Spanish as a foreign language there were hardly any schools in Valencia of this kind. Now even Chinese schools are introducing Spanish in their curriculum!
24/7 VALENCIA: What are your interests outside of teaching?
I love reading, writing and travelling. I’ve also been doing Hatha yoga for two years now, and I’m really into Psychology and personal growth. I’m in my second year training on Gestalt Therapy, a very practical and rather intense course where I’m learning about myself, relationships and communication. I also love being a student myself and I’m studying valenciano B2 at the moment.
24/7 VALENCIA: What is it you like best about living in Valencia?
What I like best about Valencia is that I can move around the city on my bicycle! Apart from that, I really like my neighbourhood; Cabanyal, because it is laid-back and cool at the same time, and I like the fact that Valencia is in a bilingual region.
INTERVIEW BY 24/7 VALENCIA
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