I left for Zarautz in September 2015, my aim to stay for three years working at the Academy of English.Travelling from Manchester to Bilbao on a Sunday morning I landed full of positivity and ambition and that was to continue for a several weeks. My reception was efficient and I was introduced to the owners family but they were typically Basque and cold.
The apartment was large, old fashioned and on the face of it ok but at a cost of €650 a month. The next day was chaotic visiting the town hall, estate agents etc and beginning work at 10:30am. I had no timetable and was told it would evolve over the next two weeks. The apartment turned out to be a death trap with sockets that left the walls and a heating system that was archaic and didn’t work.
Eventually i was teaching 29 hours over 5 days when I’d actually agreed to work 4 days when I left the UK. My timetable included teenagers and adults studying for Cambridge exams and 3 corporate clients. Most of the students were great except the ones who’d studied English in summer camps overseas who were intolerable. They (the minority) constantly questioned me when I corrected their mistakes trying to change my language to fit their grammar rules. At this juncture i have to say they are taught in Basque at school and not in Spanish. My adult students were at a variety of levels but mostly lovely but my favourite work was in the engineering companies where everybody was essentially positive.
I worked with 3 colleagues the mother and daughter from the family and a San Sebastian local. The daughter was lovely if a little distant outside work, the mother was an intolerable control freak who cared about money rather than the quality of education, the guy from SS was on the autistic spectrum. I am going to close my comments about work because I want to celebrate the region in which I live. I lasted until mid-January when I resigned to retain my sanity.