Silvia is one of the Spanish for foreigners teachers at Paraninfo. She gives Spanish classes to groups of students of differing levels. Her students come from various countries and continents and have distinct cultures and customs.
Silvia is known for her friendliness and great personality. She has tonnes of experience and her students can enjoy her charisma, incredible patience, versatility and energy in class.
- What did you study at university? What did you specialise in?
- I studied Hispanic Philology and my speciality was comparative literature. But since then, I've combined that with Spanish language teaching, focusing more on new technologies adapted to language teaching.
- What memories do you have of your university days? Would you class yourself as a geek? How do you remember your time as a student?
- I definitely don't consider myself a geek. Though I must admit that I successfully passed every single one of my courses - some after a few retakes, of course. What I liked most about my student days was all the extracurricular stuff. I mean, all the cultural activites my university offered, like being a member of a student group that organized conferences and parties; I went to Italy on Erasmus, attended conferences on literature etc., but to do all that I did have to miss quite a few classes.
- How and when did you start giving Spanish classes?
- When I finished university, with the excuse of learning English I went to Ireland, where I had an incredible time. It was there that I started to teach Spanish. Then I came back to Madrid, and that very week I found work as a Spanish teacher in Japan, and off I went.
- What does your job involve?
- I'm an ELE teacher, I teach Spanish to foreigners.
- Do you speak any other languages? Which would you like to master or learn more of?
- I used to speak Italian pretty well, but it's been a long time since I've practised. I just read or listen a little every now and them. My English level is difficult to define. Thanks to my English I survived more than 10 years in Ireland and Japan; I mean, I can speak it and I understand, but my grammar is still pretty bad and there are still times that I struggle to understand the odd film. And last of all, Japanese is a language that I've been studying for about 13 or 14 years, but really really slowly. I've got an intermediate level and that would be the language I'd like to master.
- How would you define yourself as a teacher? What's your teaching style?
- It's difficult to classify my teaching style as I mix styles and different ways of giving classes. For example, I can't do conversation classes, even an unstructured one, without some kind of grammatical aim. And another thing, I can't explain grammar without pracitising it with loads of oral exercises. Also, even though I prepare the classes pretty thoroughly, I always end up improvising part of it.
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
- Bringing together people from all different cultures, ideas, situations and ages, all together in one class. Then, with that mixture, sometimes almost explosive, creating a good atmosphere where we can all have a good time. I think that's the hardest thing, but also the nicest thing.