In March 2020 the world changed in a heartbeat. COVID-19 went from being a faraway health emergency on the news to affecting each and every one of us directly in our day-to-day lives.
At TtMadrid, we’ve been the leading TEFL program in Spain for over 15 years now and lived through financial recessions, political upheaval and seen thousands of students come through our doors to live and work in Spain from other countries. None of this prepared us for 2020.
Here we give you a quick glimpse into what this period has been like for us and the current situation in the Spanish capital.
Lockdown in Madrid
We had a TEFL course in full swing when Spain called a State of Emergency and locked the country down. In the week before the lockdown, we had become extremely concerned by the rising number of cases and deaths around Europe and, even though it was going to be extremely complicated, we knew that the safety of our students and staff was our first priority and that we wanted to restrict the face-to-face contact within the course as soon as possible. We took the course online and our students were amazing – they finished their four weeks of theory and teaching practices with big smiles and tons of patience. Being able to keep it going and having day-to-day contact with the students really made lockdown bearable in those first few weeks.
We started to plan our next courses online – luckily in the last 12 months we have been working on digitizing our accredited TEFL course to reduce our carbon footprint, so it was quite straight forward once we found the right online platform to be able to give teaching practices and inputs (our theoretical content taught by our experienced trainers) and offer the same face-to-face attention.
Our team was confined to their houses and spent hours working to make sure the course was polished and perfectly adapted to an online format, while keeping it very ‘TtMadrid’. The students were amazing, the staff were amazing and the course had its hallmark spark and extra bit of love.
We had a few tears as our graduation became an online Zoom party, our teaching practice support sessions were via email and phone and we desperately missed the celebratory hugs and glasses of Cava that we enjoy before our end of course dinner. We settled in for the long-haul online throughout the courses of Spring of 2020 and waited for news of when we’d be able to see everyone in person again.
Teaching English during Summer 2020
We welcome most of our students over the summer and fall months and we were keen to make sure everything was safe and prepared for our Summer 2020 courses. Spain officially opened back up in June and we slowly brought the TEFL center back to life, with protocols in place to make sure our cleaning rituals were tip-top and we incorporated social distancing into our teaching practices and day-to-day activities.
We started welcoming our old students to come in and see us to organize their visa renewal paperwork. The school started to slowly feel like before.
Our course started in August and we have lots of safety protocols and adjustments we’ve made to the course. The TEFL theory previously covered online teaching and materials as part of the wider context of teaching but we’ve expanded and extended the content for teaching online, including specifically training our students in online classes for kids, one of the biggest markets for ESL teachers to work in right now. We also changed our teaching practices to include observed online teaching practices with real students, and included an option to complete teaching practices with kids online.
Life in Spain right now
Life in Spain hasn’t changed much from before. We are still able to sit and relax on one of Madrid’s many terraces, wander around the shady streets and watch dreamy sunsets. We are now required to wear masks everywhere in public, yes… and there’s hand sanitizer absolutely everywhere, but in general, life is pretty similar to what it was before.
The cultural offering of a capital city like Madrid continues to be second to none. Theatres are slowly finding ways to open up and museums are reducing capacity to allow social distancing to take place while you enjoy exhibitions.
New academic year 2020 – teaching English in Madrid
We’re seeing a lot of English academies that have been able to get through lockdown by doing classes online and with the reduction in the number of teachers staying in the English teaching market here in Madrid, we’re expecting our students to have tons of opportunities to work in the new academic year. With a recession thought to be on the way, English classes are a sure investment for Spanish people who are looking to use their time to skill up, so even though it seems like Spain might be about to head into an uncertain economic situation, we’ve found that English classes tend to buck a lot of these trends.
What happens if we have another lock down?
Obviously, nothing is certain right now! A nation-wide lock down is reported to be unlikely, and if there is a rise in cases it would affect Spain at a regional level. If any regions did go into lock down, it wouldn’t catch people by surprise, unlike in March, and most academies and schools are preparing to go online if lock downs do happen. Obviously, any lock down is not how you’d want to spend your time, but it shouldn’t be something that stops you from experiencing Spain in the longer term and isn’t expected to affect your ability to live and work here.
We’re back and excited to start the new academic year, so check out our course dates for 2020-2021 and start your adventure in Madrid and teach English.