In search of the greenest grass

This time of year brings out more than just the sun and flip flops. It’s the time of year when the end of the school year becomes suddenly visible, and thoughts about what lies beyond June get more serious.

Metaphor anyone? What lies at the end of the path? Just me? Or another excuse to post a picture of beautiful Granada.

Actually thoughts about this started as far back as November when applications to renew my contract became available. Applying is free and comes with no obligations, so there’s really no reason not to.

At this point I have absolutely no idea where I will end up next year. All I really know is that it will not be the United States. I would love to come back to Spain for a second year, but there’s so much of the rest of the world calling my name too. My latest hobby is browsing TEFL job boards online and actually applying for some. I currently have resumes out in half a dozen countries, with some of the more promising opportunities in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Czech Republic, and of course, Spain.

I’m one of the most indecisive people you’ll ever meet. I usually have trouble deciding what to have for dinner, so how am I supposed to pick a country to live in? The coming months are going to be filled with pro and con lists. This sounds simple enough, but don’t be fooled. Take the following examples:

Location: When most people are job hunting this is one of the easier categories used to rank potential jobs. They either want a job close to home, or have somewhere in mind they want to set up a home. I fit into neither of those categories. I’m going to have to do some soul searching and see what’s stronger: my growing love for Andalucía and Spain, or my burning desire to go somewhere completely new and foreign and set up a life again.

Language: Part of me wants to stick with Spanish speaking countries, to get as close to fluent in the language as possible. But another part would love to tackle a new language. I could make the slight shift to Portuguese in Brazil, or I could make the huge leap to Czech or Georgian in their respective countries. As a linguistic and grammar nerd I love the early stages of language learning when you memorize a few verbs, a handful of vocabulary, and just like that you can put together sentences.

Work Load: The jobs I’m browsing range from my joke of a job now, working 12 hours a week as an assistant and virtually no planning, to teaching full time in a university’s foreign language department. Easy choice, right? Take the 12 hours of “work” a week, of course. It would be easy doing this again. But I don’t know if my brain would ever recover after another year of this. I miss being pushed, being intellectually stimulated. My CELTA last summer left me completely over-prepared and over-qualified for this job. I was trained to lead classrooms of students to real language discovery and usage, and some days here all I do is sing “10 Little Monkeys” and dance around the classroom. That’s not to discredit the baby steps that must be taken in teaching children a second language, but it’s not always the most satisfying job.

I don’t have to make a decision for a while still, so I’m spending my last few months in this job soaking up the sunshine, contemplating my future while gazing into this:

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2 Responses to In search of the greenest grass

  1. James says:

    If you do decide to hop countries, look at salaries. The Middle East is a great option for high salaries and learning a super cool language. (Arabic or French). Check out teaching in Qatar, it's a pretty liberal country and a lot of fun! (I lived there for about 6 months)

  2. I know what you mean. I'm renewing for another year here in Spain, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to go back to the States after that. I feel the same way about choosing another country: keep up with the ol' Spanish, or try something new? Oh well. At least you can say our lives are never boring!

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