This month, the partner and teacher of NELC with which we take a tea is Eileen Wallace. Although she never imagined she would end up teaching English for more than 9 months, and has done so for over 20 years! And she loves it.
Tea or coffee? If tea tell us which one? With sugar/lemon/milk?
It has to be tea, no milk, and made in a teapot (not a cup)!
Where are you from?
I’m from a small town in north east Scotland. It’s very pretty and quite rural. People from bigger cities call us ‘teuchters’ which is a bit derogatory but also amusing: it means ‘highlander’.
When did you first get to Barcelona?
I’m bad with dates but I think it was the end of 1994. I’d worked in Tarragona and San Sebastian before that.
Tell us your favourite English word.
I like words like ‘thingamajig, thingummy, or thingy’ – there are many variations. It’s the word for something when you have a temporary ‘lapsus’ and can’t remember the correct word e.g. ‘Have you got the thingamajig to plug into the computer?’
What’s your least favourite?
At the moment I have a hatred for ‘like’ and ‘awesome’. This started as a teenage trend in the States and is vastly overused. It sounds like you don’t have any other vocabulary e.g. ‘I went to the beach yesterday and it was like awesome’.
A story of something that happened to you in class.
It’s difficult to pick one story out of the thousands. Some are funny or touching or embarrassing. You see all the world in the classroom. Perhaps, I am most grateful for the story of a learner: ‘Alicia’s Shoes’. I was being observed for a teaching exam and. The lesson depended on the learners telling their own stories. One of them came out with a great story about her broken shoes. Everyone was captivated and we all had a good laugh! Thank you, Alicia!
What word or phrase do you use most often?
I remember some learners commenting ‘Why do you always say ‘festival’? It turned out that they had misunderstood ‘First of all’!
What do you like most about teaching at NELC?
The freedom to teach in a way that best suits the learners. Each person is different and we have the flexibility to adapt to a particular group or individual.
What NELC features are not offered by other language schools?
Many but most importantly, we have a great team of teachers who are truly professional. They have a commitment beyond the classroom that means that we care about our students and their learning, and about the other people we work with.
And a movie?
‘The Third Man’, shot in black and white is an all-time great: great story, great acting, great photography, great setting, great music. Very atmospheric.
What dish from your country do you miss most?
Not so many because you can buy most kinds of food here now. I always go for a good curry as soon as I land in Glasgow or London.
What is your favourite local dish?
Here, I love ‘escalibada’ or ‘calcots’ with romesco sauce, as well as ‘brave potatoes’, of course!
Your favorite place to get lost in Barcelona.
I think for foreigners, like myself, the ‘old town’ holds a great attraction and I used to know every little alley. I also like wandering around Gracia.
What do you do on a Sunday morning?
I usually go for a ‘relaxing cup of coffee’ with a friend that I met here about 15 years ago and we talk about everything from food to politics.
What do you always carry in your bag?
Apart from my mobile, I suppose my sun cream! I can’t be outside for more than a few minutes before turning into a lobster – or ‘gamba’ as you say here.
Who do you think should appear on a 20-euro note?
Anyone, real or fictitious, who has helped humanity.
What super power would you like?
To have boundless energy to do all the things I want to do.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your students?
How to be spontaneous! It doesn’t come so naturally to us northern Europeans.