It has been over a year since Koentact’s courses went online. Teacher Kiki saw an opportunity and decided to continue teaching from abroad. She went to Portugal. In this blog, she will tell more about what it has been like to teach Dutch while being away.
How did you end up in Portugal?
Normally I travel every winter. This is partly why I chose to become a language teacher; it gives me the freedom to travel for longer periods. When classes suddenly went online, I realized that I could be teaching from anywhere! I decided to search for a place abroad where I could live for a couple of months. I saw that a friend of mine posted about this Portuguese house on Facebook. I responded to the post and that’s how it started!
What’s it like in Portugal?
I share this house with some others, who are working as well. It’s really nice to share this household with others, we spend a lot of time together. We have dinner together for example. As none of us know anybody here, we’re happy to get to know each other. It’s very different from my life in Amsterdam, where I know so many people already.
When I first arrived bars and restaurants were still open. We went out for dinner or to play pool back then. Things have changed though, there’s a curfew here as well. I’m happy that the house we live in is quite big, it feels spacious. There’s a small path from our house straight to the beach, which helps to expand the bubble we live in.
Does it feel like traveling?
I’m situated in the Algarve, which normally is very touristic. It’s quiet, which feels surreal. We spend a lot of time outside, we can walk to the beach which is really nice. We don’t visit villages too much, as everything is closed. I don’t connect with the country as much as I connect with nature in general. It feels good to spend more time outside. It doesn’t really feel like traveling, but I’m away from home for sure.
What’s a benefit of online teaching?
Well, you can teach from anywhere! Also, when I give students a writing exercise, it is really easy to see what they’re writing, to explain certain things and to give immediate feedback. And I do love the occasional pet that shows up on someone’s screen!
What’s hard about it?
I miss the energy you can have in a classroom. I used to do exercises where students would walk around, which helped the students to find their focus again. They can also get distracted more easily when joining from home.
Because I started teaching online, I have seen the benefits of online classes and I will for sure continue teaching online. I do love my bike ride to work though, so combining online and offline classes will be what I’m aiming for.