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TEACHER REFERENCES

Here are some comments from Paddington teachers. If you still have any queries regarding Paddington School or Linares, the teachers below have agreed to be contacted by prospective teachers if it is necessary.

 

Harriet-UK                                                                                                                                                                                 

I worked at Paddington from September 2016 – June 2017. This was my first teaching position after I had qualified, and my first experience of living abroad.

Paddington was a great school to work for. There is consistent support, weekly meetings and a lot of resources, which helped me feel comfortable as I was a new teacher in a new country! The school is small, but very well organised, and Chris and the team are happy to help with anything. I found the experience of working slightly challenging as it was my first year, but I was given lots of support. Working at Paddington was very useful, as I gained knowledge of the Cambridge exams system and I had to write my own end of term exams and reports as well. I had a great year working at Paddington, it was fantastic to experience a real Spanish town, and I felt very at home working at the school.

Linares is a small town, but it has everything you need including supermarkets, shops and lots of cafes and bars. The tapas here are excellent and free, and eating out is also very cheap. Everything is within walking distance, apart from the train station which is out of town. The living costs are generally low, and I was able to save some money whilst I lived here to visit other places and to go home.

 

Olga -Poland                                                                                                                                                                                                   

I worked at Paddington School of English from September 2016 – June 2017. Having worked for various schools I can say that Paddington is a really well organised one. It’s small but busy. The students are active and talkative but well behaved at the same time. In the case of more challenging students I could always rely on Chris and his help. In general, all of my queries were immediately dealt with and the staff were very helpful and friendly. I taught a variety of classes including adult intensive courses in the morning and classes with teenagers and children aged 6-10 in the afternoon/evening. I found teaching at Paddington enjoyable and interesting. Each classroom has an interactive board which allows you to use videos, interactive games digital books and so on.

Linares is a small city but it was a nice change for me after living in big places. You can walk everywhere and meet new people in language exchange meetings or salsa classes or wherever you decide to spend your free time. There are also English speaking language assistants you can meet. There weren’t any Spanish courses for foreigners available when I was there but I found a lovely Spanish tutor. Other relevant information is as follows: it can get quite cold in winter, there are plenty of pubs and bars where you get a free tapa with your drink, the bus station is in the city but the train station is a few kilometres away so you need to take a bus to get there. I would recommend bringing your own car if you want to travel around. I mainly used blabla car which is very popular in Spain.

 

Ruth -Ireland                                                                                                                                                                                                 

I worked at Paddington School of English from September 2012- June 2014 and March 2016- June 2016.

I had previously worked in Linares as a language assistant in primary school so was already familiar with the city. It is a relatively small city but has everything you could need to feel comfortable and at home here. There are many tapas bars, a variety of shops, a large El Corte Ingles, a bowling alley and cinema. I found being able to speak Spanish a help with regards to making friends and still maintain my circle of Spanish friends from my first year here. However, that being said there is also a sizeable group of language assistants working in the local public schools, who are native English speakers so it is more than possible to socialize and adapt to Spanish life in your own time if you are unfamiliar with living here. The cost of living is reasonable, I have rented both a flat by myself for €300 a month and shared with another teacher, with both of us paying €180.

With regards to classes at Paddington, I did find the first year challenging as I had never taught my own classes nor prepared my own exams, despite having been a language assistant for the previous two years, it was a completely new experience. But Chris was on hand to offer advice and I soon became accustomed to the weekly lesson planning and devising classroom activities. I taught a range of classes from students aged 6 right up to adults. I gained great experience with Cambridge exams during my time at Paddington and I am now familiar with many Cambridge exams from Young Learners up to First Certificate. I found all of the staff very welcoming at the school, with Chris and Maribel helping when I came back in March 2016 to find accommodation, which was slightly difficult as it was in the middle of Easter week here in Linares!

 

JoannaUK                                                                                                                                                                                                        

I worked  at  Paddington  from Sept  2015 to June 2016 and enjoyed  every minute.  This was my first real teaching post after completing my TEFL ( I’d volunteered as a teacher in England) and everyone has been so helpful and supportive.

All the staff at the school are great. They are welcoming and friendly and always happy to help either professionally or out of school. I have taught a variety of classes, both age and ability and also use a wide selection of coursebooks. This helps keep all the lessons fun and interesting. The kids are great, happy, talkative and fun to be with. My adult class brings a completely different atmosphere to the classroom but equally enjoyable. We work hard but the experience has been invaluable and I have learnt a great deal during the last year.

Linares is a lovely town. Not too big, so you can easily walk everywhere. The people are very friendly and their lack of spoken English has helped improve my Spanish. There are enough shops, bars, restaurants to keep you busy and pretty parks to sit in and watch the world go by. The tapas culture is great, free food with your drink! The cost of living is cheap. I lived in a lovely apartment in the old town for 300 euros leaving plenty of money each month to help me enjoy Spain. It’s been fantastic to experience the “real” Spain and all the culture that this brings.

Phil-UK                                                                                                                                                                                                             

I worked at Paddington School of English from Sept’14 – Jun’15. Being that it was my first real teaching post after finishing my CELTA I wasn’t quite sure exactly what to expect but going to work there turned out to be a very good decision.

First of all the team at Paddington, from Chris the director and his wife Maribel to all the other teachers and long term staff that I worked with were not only friendly, welcoming and helpful but also very professional. In fact one of the main reasons for choosing to work at Paddington was to develop professionally and in my time there I have had the opportunity to work with many age groups and levels, I was able to take on extra hours in one on one class tuition which gave me even more experience with higher level student and really boosted up the already considerable wage as well. In addition to the teaching experience I acquired I was also offered numerous opportunities to attend seminars around Spain and all the time I felt backed up and supported by Chris the director and the whole team. The school is well organised and established and there have never been any issues with wages, Chris even put me up in a hotel when I arrived and arranged someone to find me an apartment and drive me around Linares to look at them.

Linares itself is very nice, a typical modern Spanish town, it is big enough to have all the shops and amenities you could want but not so big as you feel lost or have to face huge living costs. Thanks to Chris’s assistance I was able to rent a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment with tennis courts and a swimming pool for 350 Euros a month including community charge, this left me with a good amount of free cash each month both to save and explore Spain. It has been an enjoyable and valuable experience and one I would be happy to continue and if not for my own personal circumstances meaning that I will leave Spain, I would be at Paddington in Linares and under the Andalusian sunshine for at least one more year.

Shelley-UK                                                                                                                                                                                                       

I worked at Paddington school of English from September 2014 – June 2015. It was my second teaching job in Spain, so I already had a good idea of what kind of salary these teaching positions offer and was familiar with the Spanish way of life. Working at Paddington has been very good experience, working as a small team in a well-established school.

Firstly, the school, Paddington school of English is very close to the town centre so wherever you live, it will be walking distance. I decided to bring my car to Spain and was pleased to find that there was plenty of free parking around Paddington when required. The team I worked alongside were very welcoming and friendly and we had some enjoyable times both at work and outside of work. Chris and his wife Maribel were very helpful and did everything they could to make my life easier. Considering my level of Spanish is not brilliant, Chris helped me on many occasions with phone calls and sorting out things which were out of my depth.

The job itself was a pleasant experience, with lessons lasting an hour each. I found this was good for keeping students engaged. I taught students from the age of 7 to adults and therefore gained experience of teaching many different levels. Chris was also very happy to train us to conduct Cambridge exams for young learners, which is great experience. The living costs in Spain are quite low, so on my salary, I was able to save a little money each month for travelling the country during my weekends off.

Linares is not a big city therefore finding a flat is quite simple as the centre is very close to everything and Chris has connections with people who are on hand to organise viewings. In the centre, there are the main shops you would find in most cities and a big El Corte Ingles with a supermarket. The city has typical Spanish festivals and events every few months, which are exciting to see for the first time. The prices of eating out in Linares are great. In the majority of places, when you order a drink you get a free tapa, which leaves you with a very small bill, especially if you plan to have a few drinks. Nightlife in Linares is good; there are lots of cafes to eat first, then an area of bars for louder music and occasionally dancing. There is a nightclub on the outskirts of the city which is slightly harder to get to, but it’s a very nice location.

If it wasn’t for personal circumstances drawing me back to the UK, I would love to stay at Paddington as I have really enjoyed the teaching experience, and get on well with the team.

Natalie-UK                                                                                                                                                                                                       

I started working for Paddington School of English in January 2015. I completed my CELTA in November 2014 so this was my first teaching job. I had no knowledge of Spanish so moving to Spain was a big step for me. However Chris, the director of the school, made me feel completely at ease. He organised it so I could travel from England with an existing teacher at the school, and arranged for me to stay in a hotel for a few nights when I arrived whilst he helped me find a place to live. My apartment is five minutes walk from the school and five minutes from the centre of Linares. It costs me 320 euro a month, which leaves me plenty of money to go exploring at the weekends. Linares itself is a small city, with plenty of shops and restaurants, and tapas bars to sample all the local foods but it’s also really easy to catch the train to explore the rest of the country.

At school I was really lucky that I was given a range of ages of classes, and different levels. I teach A1 all the way up to C1. This was challenging at first but excellent experience. I really enjoy the variety of my lessons, meaning every day is different and interesting. I have some classes of thirteen students but I also had the opportunity to gain some one-to-one experience with an advanced student. The school is well equipped with interactive technology making lessons more exciting for students, especially the younger ones. Although the students are preparing for Cambridge exams, they also have to sit a ‘Paddington’ exam every term. We had to create these based on what we had covered in the term, which was great practice for the future. Chris and the other members of staff made me feel really welcome so if I ever had a question I could ask someone. In addition to this there have been multiple chances to attend professional development seminars all around the country, and I attended a really interesting one in Malaga. I have weekly meetings with Chris and he also observed my teaching in order to help me improve. I am extremely grateful to Chris and the school for giving me this amazing opportunity and providing excellent support throughout my time here in Linares.

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