If I had buckled down and started this blog entry a few weeks ago, I could have written something for you guys that would have been a magical and dreamy limbo of sorts. However, I have already received my placement (among other important events) within the last two or three weeks. Therefore, there is less mystery with which to allude. All I can say is that there’s going to be a new me in Madrid!
It would have been epically optimistic and beautiful, I assure you. I would have talked about the endless possibilities awaiting me this Autumn: would I be assigned to the awe-inspiring Canary Islands with their warm weather and majestic views? Would I continue at my current private, international school in Torrelodones, Madrid? A place where I felt respected, valued and appreciated as an independent teacher in my own right? Or, finally, would I be assigned to be a well-paid auxiliar somewhere in Madrid’s center or surrounding villages?
In different ways, each one of these possibilities would have afforded me with a variety of benefits. You already know from my other blogs how much praise I heap on the diverse islands that are the Canaries. If I had been placed there, I would have not have had to suffer another winter (which I hate, regardless of where I am). Inter-island travel would have been the coolest shit ever. You can get ahold of the 70% discount on flights between islands if you get empadronado (which is where you declare where you live to the authorities) on Gran Canaria and are an EU citizen (they sometimes overlook that last part). Rent would have been cheaper. Not to mention, of course, there would have been the ocean basically in my backyard.
A large part of me also wanted to stay at my cool, international colegio. It is a school unlike few others due to their methodology and creed. In comparison to my last school and others I’ve taught at, the level of student interest in language learning is exceptional. There is almost no apathy towards learning English. This is something I definitely cannot say for other places I’ve taught. I have deep relationships with my students there. I know all of them by name, as well as their interests, fears, hopes, dreams, and ambitions…
Cultural Differences and a New Resolve
About a week or so ago, though, I had the balls to tell them that I needed to be paid more if I was to continue working there. They get very little wrong in that school. Unfortunately, my wage wasn’t meeting my needs. I needed and need to make a reasonable living wage if I’m going to make it in Spain. And then, of course, almost immediately after, they said that they had been doubting whether I was a good enough fit to continue with the school in general.
I got pretty worked up about that, as you might imagine. In the end, I came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, this is just Spain. I certainly have never experienced this type of reaction towards me/my personality anywhere else. Perhaps, there is just something about me that rubs some Spaniards the wrong way. I had troubles at my last school, and with those au pairs from last year.
Maybe it truly doesn’t matter how hard I try. Perhaps, I will never please the teaching world here in Spain. It could be that I need an attitude adjustment. Maybe I need one that says: “Bitches, I’m here for tapas and to educate your kids. If you don’t like it, you can suck it! I ain’t goin’ nowhere!!!” I would certainly be less stressed out if I didn’t give a flying flip about what anyone thought about me. No positive recommendations? Not going to renew me? No problema, señorita. I’ll be off to my next adventure without a backwards glance. It’s time for a new me in Madrid!
New Place, New Me in Madrid
This brings me to my original point. I recently received an email congratulating me on my assignment to somewhere in Madrid. Cool, alright. I don’t know where yet, but I am looking forward to new faces and new friends but certainly not new problems.
For better or for worse, I am going to be the auxiliar that I want to be. I am not going to take any shit or abuse this year! If they’ve got a problem with that, they can hand me my resignation form right then and there. I’m educated (kindly overlook my use of the word “ain’t” and any double negatives), experienced, and, as long as this English teaching bubble lasts, in HAWT, HAWT demand. It’s out with the old, and in with the new me in Madrid!
Peace out and sayonara bebes!
P.S. My anxiety makes it so I probably won’t have the guts to be as brave as my inner chihuahua/yappy-dog wants to me to be. Unfortunately, as my lame pun implies, I’m usually all bark and no bite. Or all hiss and no scratch. Whatever. A girl can dream, though. A girl can dream.