How long have you been teaching for and how long for Cactus?
I have been teaching since January 2011 and I have been a Spanish teacher in Liverpool for Cactus since 2012. I teach Italian at the Cactus centre in Leeds.
How long have you been living in the UK?
I moved to the UK in January 2011.
Where were you born and what is the city famous for?
I was born in Vitoria, in the Basque Country in Spain. The city along with Bilbao and San Sebastian is famous for its gastronomy and for its pintxos, similar to tapas but usually superior in intricacy and delicacy. Another good part of our culture is wine as the land is part of the Rioja wine producers. Life in the Basque Country involves good friends, good food and good wine. There is a reason why the region has the highest concentration of Michelin star restaurants in Spain!
What is your degree and teaching experience?
I have a degree in Art History and a degree in Fine Arts. I also have a teaching qualification for teaching in high schools, complemented by a course for teaching Spanish to non-native speakers from the Cervantes Institute. Apart from working for Cactus I have also worked for several schools and sixth forms and I performed as an A-level examiner. I am also a tutor, teaching both face-to-face and online, for companies and casual learners. Among my former students are doctors, business women/men, A-level students, pensioners, cabin crew, teachers, travellers. I have also worked for the British Army teaching military officers intensive courses besides recently teaching in different Adult Education Centres for Liverpool City Council.
Have you ever worked in another field?
I am a curious learner and love learning new things. That passion for learning is why I qualified and worked for years as an art restorer and as an art teacher before moving to the UK and since then, along with my teaching, I have qualified and worked as a pastry chef.
How many languages do you speak?
Apart from Spanish and English I also speak Basque (Euskera), the language from my region, completely different to Spanish and a real challenge to learn. I am also in the process of learning Italian.
What is the most important thing you have learned as a teacher?
I never considered myself to have a natural ability to learn languages and I struggled to learn English at school. However, now that I speak fluent English I realise that it was not me but the methodology that was the problem. The most important thing that I have learned as a teacher is to keep the teaching flexible and remember that no one is the exact same and that we all have different ways to learn. The process of learning needs to be enjoyable.
Looking forward to meeting you soon,
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Frequently asked questions
What will I learn?
Our Course Outlines give an overview of the content and learning framework of Cactus courses. Includes themes, grammar and vocabulary you can typically expect to cover. These are intended as a guide only. Language teachers may at times adapt the course content to suit the specific level, aims and interests of the class.
How do I know what level I am?
Are you unsure where to start or progress to? Then take our level test and read our level descriptions for guidance.
Do I receive a qualification or certificate?
At the end of your course you receive a certificate of participation. You will be able to be download it from your MyCactus account. This confirms the language and level of course you have taken. Our course levels are based on two internationally recognised systems. You will have a universally accepted reference for your studies. (Important: Please note that you must complete the end of course questionnaire sent to you to be able to get your certificate! You will receive the course questionnaire by e-mail at the end of your course.)
Do I need a course book?
You will need a course book to attend your course. Course books are not included in the course fees. We recommend that you buy your own course book separately before your course starts. We will let you know which course book you will require and advise where you can purchase this. Please note that a course book often covers more than one level. So if you progress to the next course, you may not necessarily need to buy a new book. Again, we will advise you of this at the time. The course book is chosen by our teachers and academic team. This is based on which book is most suitable for the level of the class whilst offering the most communicative approach.