Hello! I’m María José, I’m 30 years old and I’m from Cuenca, the best city in Spain. And I’m a Spanish teacher in Hispania, escuela de español.
One year, I started in September, 2017.
For me, the school is a place to be happy. I’ve been looking for a place like this for a long time. Also, for me the school is the place where I come and I am surrounded by people who make me feel good and where I can do what I like, which is to teach.
A normal day at school… well, I arrive (I have to say I am short on time). I come to the school by bicycle, full of energy! I take the books, I make the photocopies that are needed and I go to class. I always arrive with the rush of adrenaline from traffic: “Come on, let’s go guys!” And I give the class, I do the best I can, and I think I’m doing it well. 😉
We have a break, we eat,… “How was the class?”, “Look,” “I’ve done this,” “What a good idea,” etc. And then we go back to class again, at 2 pm or 4 pm. Later, I come back home calm and I rest.
Well, life brought me here because I studied Communication and then I studied Sociology. Also, I went to live abroad, I was working as a waitress and as a nanny… And I started teaching the Spanish language when I lived in Belgium. Suddenly, I had the great revelation: I want to do this.
And I love the Spanish language. I love my language, I love playing with it. And it’s an opportunity to teach this passion, this game, this wish to experiment. And that’s why I’m a teacher.
I like the moments in class when students go from “this face” (I don’t understand anything) to “this face” (Aaaaah!). That moment is light. And it happens often, it’s a good thing, hehe. And it’s like the prick of happiness.
The students are what I like the most about this job: the contact with them and the fact of being able to learn from them every day. I don`t only teach and help them to grow or find a path they were looking for, I also learn with them every day. I learn from their cultures, from their ways of thinking, from anecdotes, from stories, from opinions… It’s a continuous “give and receive”.
Wow, there are many… but well, I just left class now and we were talking about the past perfect. How do we use this tense? We use the past perfect to talk about actions in the recent past. And then a student told me (very convinced and very happy) that: “Esta mañana se ha mantequillado.” And I am very graphic and I imagined her putting butter on her face until she explained to me that she meant “make up”. So, “she had made up”.
These little things and these confusions sometimes embarrass students. But I think they are the spark of laughter and the spark of the class.
Well, my classes… I try to be interesting and funny. I like that students aren’t sitting for 2 hours. I really like to move. Then my students always say: “Don´t put examples with dancing, because we always dance!”. Then I say right away “come on guys, we get up and we’re going to dance bachata!” (for example, we have danced today).
I try to play and above all, as well as playing and laughing, I think it’s very important to reflect: talk about issues that matter to the students, issues that worry them or news that they have read in the newspapers and don’t understand why that happened.
So, a little fun and a little bit of reflection, I think that is what characterizes my classes.
I think the most important thing is to smile. And the students always look at me as if saying “why?” But I think it’s important to smile to enunciate well, to speak well and to be able to play with the tongue and with the lips. And because I believe that with a smile we always express ourselves much better. 😉
Dance! I like to dance, it’s what I like the most in the world. I have been dancing since I was 3 years old. I started dancing almost before I started walking.
I’ve been dancing classical dance for 16 years, then contemporary dance for many other years, which is what I do now. I have an association of people who dance contemporary dance, Dance Contact. I’ve also danced a little bit of hip-hop, African dances and tango… A little bit of everything! And, especially, now I’m doing Lindy Hop and we’re doing flamenco classes here in Hispania, escuela de español. So, when we have this activity at the school I put on my heels and ‘let’s dance’!
I also do pottery and I really like to go climbing at the weekend.
What would I like to do in the future…? To keep learning, to keep teaching,… And I would like to do it here, at Hispania, escuela de español. Even though sometimes I have an itch to continue travelling and live in other countries, but for now I stay here. 😉
Favourite film: The last I’ve seen ‘Isle of dogs’.
Favourite book: ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’
An adjective that defines you: Big-head.
Favourite classroom in Hispania, escuela de español: The classroom number 24 (Classroom building 2). It has a table, which is very important, where all the students can seat and have a pink bicycle on the right. It’s very spacious, with natural light.
Your favourite place in Valencia: Just behind the cathedral and the Basilica of the Virgin, there is a tiny square called ‘Almoina Square’ and it’s a place I like very much.
Your favourite place in the world: My home, Cuenca.
If you weren’t a teacher, you’d be… A very sad woman! Hehe. Well, I don’t know where my life would have taken me. I suppose to the communication jobs or university professor, homemaker, mother… I don’t know, I don’t know!
Beach or mountains? Mountains.
Sweet or salty? Sweet. Well, the fruit. Sweet.
Coffee or tea? Coffee.
Day or night? The day, to do a lot of things.
North or south? (of Spain): North.
Countryside or city? It depends on what city. A city where I can do a lot of things, where there are a lot of theaters and museums and people from many different countries…then city. To relax, countryside.
Dog or cat? Dog, my dog.