What am I doing here?

Living the dream? Surviving? Usually depends on what day it is. 

Six years ago I moved to Spain to teach in an 'immersion' school. The children are Spanish, I teach them in English. At interview, the head told me that the children in my class (6- and 7-year-olds) were 'fluent'.
I wondered later if I'd misheard. Maybe he'd said, 'Effluent'?
After 25 years of reasonably successful primary teaching in the U.K. I suddenly found myself confronted by the biggest professional challenge of my career, how to teach Spanish primary children in English. Not teach them English, teach them in English. That's maths, science, history, geography... the whole primary bagful. 
'Immersion' schooling is a wonderful idea, particularly good when the children have made it as far as secondary and their English is coming along fine. But remember, I've got them at 6- and 7-years-old...

If life inside my classroom is a 'challenge' then life outside is often worse. Did anyone ever tell you that 'everyone in Spain speaks English'? Wrong. EU stats claim that less than 20% of Spaniards have 'conversational standard' English. If I struggle in the class, imagine what happens outside...
So, the stage was set for a life of confusion and frustration...

This blog is the current state-of-play. This is me, here, now. Six years on and finally able to explore the country a little. There are still crazy things to report from the classroom, but actually, the real news is that I'm a convert. Not only does 'immersion' education seem to work, it's turned out to be the most inspirational 'reform' I've seen in my 30 year career. 

If you ever consider doing something similar, you might like the eBook.


 'Zen Kyu Maestro: An English Teacher's Spanish Adventure' is published by Monday Books and is available on Amazon (link below). It tells the story of my tumultuous first year here, when I struggled to make myself understood inside and outside the class. It was a baptism of fire which tested my 25 years of experience to the limit.

Download a FREE sample chapter, or buy Zen Kyu Maestro, HERE.