I'm trying to place your accent and I th...where are you from originally?
Er...I'm from...er...it's...You're starting now I take it?...er...I'm
from a little town in between Liverpool and Manchester called
Warrington. It's not particularly well known. I don't think any of your
viewers would know where it was, but er....
Did..did you go to university around there?
No, I went....basically I was there for a couple of years..for like
the first two years of my life, and then, because of job opportunities....we
were going to move to Liverpool and then something happened and my dad
ended up moving down...well, my dad, we all ended up moving down, the
result of my dad getting a job, to about 40 miles east of London. Erm..so
that's probably why I've got a bit of a mixed accent.
That's more or less where I'm from.
Oh really? Essex.
Where I grew up.
Just outside Southend, in Hadley, a little...a little town
Ok. I grew up in Ilford.
Oh really? Ah, ok! Ah, but closer towards...
Well, Redbridge, Gants Hill....but, East London.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Ok, fair enough.
Very good. Very good! But as I say, that's why I've probably go that
mix of accents 'cos at home, y'know, obviously I had everyone 'bath', 'class'
and 'headmaster' and all that lot, and then...er... outside the home it
was then obviously all Essex weird....
Glottal stops and estuary English...
Yeah, yeah exactly, all this. So, er...yeah, and then I went and I
studied up in Lancaster for a couple of years, then I moved down to
Brighton with my friends for about five years, then up to Oxford where I
did another degree, and then back to Essex, so I've got a bit of a...
So, what did you study?
Fine art...I did..
And did you work in fine arts? I mean, have you always been teaching?
No, no...er...it was a little bit of serendipity, basically, the way
it worked out. Just because, so before I...I came here, then I...I was
working down in Brighton with my friends, we all moved out to try and
find...follow the rock and roll dream, we sort of went over there as
a...as a band plus all our mates to go and take over the world, kind of
thing. Er...I used to play the drums and we thought, we had visions of
What sort of music did you play?
Indie... indie rock, I guess. Yeah, kind of harmonic indie rock, I'd
And this was around the 80's?
No, no blimey no, no, no! That would have been...I don't know...so,
if I was...
....about 20 I guess. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it would have been like...I
suppose about '98, '99 I guess, when we moved down there. Erm...and so
yeah, this is...this is the plan, and then obviously the sort of...the
day to day grind took over I just started working in offices instead,
and sort of justified this existence that I hated by sort of at the same
time thinking "I know inside I'm going to be a rock and roll star" and
all this sort of rubbish, obviously this sort of delusion.
But did you get gigs? Did you play?
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah we played and obviously we thought that we were
very good, but I think we were just a bit lazy and rested on our laurels.
We thought "well, we've got good songs, so...people should come to us
and discover us." But we realized that, I think if you want to make it,
in this...in any business obviously, you need to...you...you've got to
go out there and you've just got to sell yourself.
Did you have a manager?
No, no, no. We didn't even get that far. It was just, we were
literally just doing gigs and basically it would just be like our mates
plus other hanger-ons and all that sort of stuff and....no, it...it was
mainly just...I think looking back it was just a bit of a laugh.
So, what sort of office jobs? You said you were doing office jobs.
Er....working in...I worked in banks for about three years, I worked
as like a...a personal assistant for a couple of years..erm...just
generally sort of administrative, soulless work basically, that I just
hated, and it wasn't me in the slightest. Er...and then one day I sort
of woke up and had a little bit of a revelation and just thought 'I need
to get out of this, this life 'cos it's not...it's not good'. Er...so
then I went to university. So I went to university when I was 25, I
think. So I was a little bit of a...a late bloomer. But I wasn't really
ready when I was younger. I don't think I was mature enough.
So, how did you get into teaching?
Oh yeah, that was the...that was the purpose, wasn't it?
I'm gonna start my cake, I'm sorry.
No, no go for it! So...
Tell us about teaching.
...er....so I finished....so I finished my degree and I thought,
right, what can I do to sort of keep my hand in the degree. Oh sorry,
while I was doing my degree I went over and did an Erasmus year in the
Bauhaus in...in Germany, and this was fantastic. Just being there
walking around the same streets where, and drinking in the same pub
where..er..Itten, one of the...like a of hero of mine, used to sort of
sit there and where he designed his...his er... colour printables and
things like that, it's just really inspiring.
And while I was there then I...I was living with some Spanish people,
er...had a Spanish girlfriend, just hung around with lots of Spanish
people and just basically started learning Spanish and basically fell in
love with Spanish culture.
But what came first, teaching or your love for Spain?
So, while I was...er..finishing my degree I was thinking ok, I know
that I want to go to Spain, I had like a Spanish girlfriend and I was
thinking it's all gonna...it's all leading towards this...something...something
different. Erm...and maybe doing some kind of creative work over there.
Er...and so I was looking for jobs in video editing over in Spain
there's like a new...er...studios that just opened up outside Alicante,
so I was looking there and sort of applying for work and things like
that. Er...and I thought right, ok I've finished university, I'm going
to save up some money I did a load of factory jobs and all that sort of
stuff just to work out...just to work and so I had enough money to pay
to live here for a couple of months. And then just before I came I
suddenly had the brainwave, hold up! Er...if it doesn't work out, I need
something to fall back on. So I..er..I came and did a CELTA first thing
over here. It...it was the first thing I did. Erm..did the CELTA, loved
it. Started teaching straight away and just fell in love with teaching
Wow! That's interesting.
So, you haven't been teaching that long.
No, no. I...er..I did..I was..er..my mum was a teacher, my uncle was
a teacher, so when I was at college, then I wanted to be a teacher. Erm..but
then, like I say, I sort of went off...did a sort of follow this rock
and roll route for seven or eight years, and so that kind of took me
away from that, and then went to art college, obviously, and that took
me away, so when I came back....it...it was something I'd obviously
thought about when I was younger...er...I did...I had some experience as
like a teaching assistant at a primary school...er.....so it wasn't like
a million miles away, but when it came it wasn't....it..it was a
surprise. And I just...I loved it and stuck with it, basically. Yeah,
What...erm...what do you like most about teaching?
Er....the people. Just meeting different people, meeting interesting
people every day. Er...no day...no two days are the same. Er...everything
depends completely on....you never...you...you can have everything
planned and you can walk into the classroom and it can completely...change,
no? Obviously, this you know. Er...and so I love this. I love the fact
that you're always switched on when you're in the classroom. You've got
to be completely aware. It's...your mind's never wandering you're always
aware and focused.
What do you dislike about it?
Erm..the administration, basically, the admin yeah..writing reports...the
paperwork. It's not a major...it's not a major hatred. It's just the
fact that...I know it comes with the part and parcel of the job, but I
would prefer not to have to do it. I know what's going on in my head,
I've got it all organized. I know what the kids are like, and all that
sort of stuff, but I know obviously I need to....
Do you prefer teaching kids or adults?
I'd prefer to have a...as much variety as possible. Just sort of keep
it interesting. I teach...at the moment I teach a lot of private..erm...adult
classes. I teach business classes..erm...large groups of adults is...is
fantastic obviously, 'cos you can....
That's my favourite
..yeah?...it's you...you just....I don't know...it's the most...
'cos they're motivated, usually, erm....and you don't have to be a
policeman in the classroom...
Yeah, no exactly...
You just go with....with, y'know, with their motivation...
They're...they're paying to do it....and they're doing it for a
reason and they know why they're doing it. They haven't been sent by
So...so do you see your....your near future here? Any plans to move
Yeah, yeah..I mean...I think the most important thing is to be open
to the change...er...to anything that comes along, basically. I...I've
just started...er...well, I've been going out with a Spanish girl for
about eight or nine months now and I'm...falling...falling in love with
her. Everything's going....everything's hunkey dory basically. Er...job's
going well. Valencia, I love Valencia. I love my girlfriend. I'm I'm...just....if...if
something happens, I'm open to change, but at the end of the day..erm...I..I'll
see what happens really.
What's been your most memorable moment in the classroom?
Er....the...the first year I think it's all...well the first couple
of years it's all...they're all memorable, aren't they? because you're
just learning so much. Everything is new, you've got new classes, new
levels..erm....so my first year, just...I suppose, obviously there's
lots of heart-warming moments, but I'll talk about a couple of the...the
weirdest moments when...well, first when...my first class when I
finished the CELTA course which is obviously learning how to teach
adults, and my first class with four and five-year olds and I had no
It's a different thing..I mean, I've taught children it's completely
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
And I...I...I had nothing, basically. So, on the first day my...my
boss said to me, "Have you met Norton?" Norton? Who's this? Is this,
like, another teacher? And Norton was a...a toy parrot that I used, I
was meant to use to turn the pages in the book, and I was just thinking,
"What am I doing here? If my friends could see me now!" Er...there's
Did you keep on with Norton through the term, or...did you...put him in
Norton came out from time to time. And as soon as Norton came out the
kids would want to try to pull his eyes out. Poor Norton!
That's your lovely seven-year olds!
Exactly, no, four and five-year olds, these were. So, poor Norton
after being abused for several months and then put back in the box.
There are other times that I remember....because obviously on a CELTA
course you learn all these mingle exercises and things like that, and it
was...we were doing one of those...one of those ten-year olds, ten and
eleven-year olds, and I remember I was listening and, ok, identifying
errors and putting them on the board so we could look at them afterwards,
treating it as if they were an adult class, obviously...er....and as I
was writing something on the board I turned round and there was this
little ten-year old girl lying on the floor doing snow angels on the
floor in the middle of the class. And then I was just....what do I do?..and...er...I
chose to just ignore her. I just stepped over her and carried on
listening to...and it turns out it was the right thing to do because she
just stood back up and joined in.
She wanted the attention.
Yeah, exactly. But I'd say the worst one, sorry I gotta go....just
get this one out....was when erm....I learnt that you can never lose
your temper, you can never get angry. As soon as you get angry with kids,
then you've...you've lost, basically. Er...and er...once I...I...before
I realized this, obviously, I was against a point, I was trying to say
to them. Right, ok, I'm going to have a chat with them today, so I
walked in, slammed the books on the table, and I said, "Right
listen".....all in Spanish this was..er..."this is the worst class I've
got to teach all these different students and you're the worst of the
lot." Erm....and this rant went on for like about 5 or 10 minutes, or
something like that, and in the end I was building up to this new word,
I'd just learned how to say 'I'm fed up' in Spanish, and so I slammed
the books again on the desk and I said "¡Estoy completamente harta!".
Er....and the kids just went "!Haha! Rich es una chica!". And I was....ok..fair
enough, and that was the moment I realized you need to...prevention is
better than cure, no? If you make the classes interesting, if you make
them fun, then you don't lose them and you don't have to lose your rag.
Ok, so, i mean you...you said that you teach here and you...you've got...you've
got private lessons. What do you do when you're not teaching?
What do you do with your time?
I love cooking and I love eating good food. That's my primary love. I
love cooking for my girlfriend. I love having her cook for me...er...and
just sharing good food with...with her. I love watching football..er..I
love...er...I like painting. I like playing my guitar.
You still play.
Yes. What the guitar?
Music. You still create.
Yeah, yeah I wish I...actually it's unfortunate that I can't have a
drum kit here. So I'm saving up for an electric drum kit, because
obviously it's flat-friendly, no? But er...
Would you consider joining a band here?
Playing the drums?
Yeah, yeah I'd love to. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Er...why are you....are
you a musician?
I'm not a musician, no. But if anyone's watching....
If anyone's watching and would like to hook up, in the Valencia area.
Yeah, yeah, yeah exactly. Er...no that would be fun, just something
to pass the time, to have a bit of fun, basically. Nothing too serious..er...yeah,
We'll put it out there.
That would be a craic, why not? Exactly.
Rich, what advice would you give Spanish speakers who are trying to
Er....don't be afraid to make mistakes. I'd say, it's better to try
and fail than to not try at all. I don't know who said that, but I'm
stealing it. Erm...and don't worry about what other people think,
basically. You've got to just...you've got to talk, you've got to
communicate. And it's the communication, the expression is more
That's a common problem in my conversation class is that they've studied
grammar, they've got wide vocabulary, but there's that shyness there...that...that
feeling that if they open their mouth and a mistake comes out it's the
end of the world. Well it isn't.
Yeah, yeah, yeah exactly.
So, that's good advice. So, no inhibitions, get out there, start
...and communicating in English
Practice! There's no point having all this information...and you...you
can't talk with a book. You can't walk around the streets writing little
notes in your notebook and all that stuff. You...you've just got to...you've
got to do it.
So can you talk a little bit about what you hope to do in the future.
You said your happy here, life's good at the moment. Erm...do you see
yourself staying in teaching?, would you like to go into management?,
materials development?, teacher training?
I'd say, like I say, I'm not much of a planner, I have to say. I'm
not much of a...I'm very much...I think if you spend too much time
thinking about the future, you don't enjoy what you've got. And life is
very good at the moment. I'm very happy..er..I've just finished the
diploma, so I'm going to see how that...
You're going to have a rest over the summer, presumably?
Yeah, exactly. I want to try and incorporate all the new things that
I've learnt into my teaching. I want to see...like I say, I'm falling
deeper in love with a...a beautiful lady and I want to see where that
goes...er...I'm very happy with Valencia. It's just a question of...ok,
if something comes I'm open and ready for it, but I'm not in any rush to
change anything right now.
If you could change something about yourself, what would you change?
Er...ok, let me see. Erm...I believe that...ok, if you...I'm thinking....I'm
sorry I did think about this before...er...if you plant two seeds in the
ground either side of a...a brick wall basically, and you've got one
that's got perfect sunlight, perfect conditions, perfect soil then it's
going to grow exactly as it was genetically programmed to...to grow, no?
If, on the other side of the wall, you plant it, the soil isn't so
fertile, the roots have got to grow a little bit further which sort of
stunts the growth of the tree..er...the plant...er...maybe it doesn't
get direct sunlight so it has to sort of twist and turn to reach the
sunlight, maybe the winds blowing so it has to sort of bend itself to
brace against the wind...er...and I think these...the twists and the
contortions and the...the defects in..in the plant is what makes it
beautiful, no? and makes it interesting and makes it individual...er...and
I think it's the same...same for us, basically. Er...I..I've got...I've
got things that I need to work on, but erm....I don't know...I...er...I'm
happy with them 'cos they make me....they make me me, no? So,...
I used to go out with a girl, an American girl, and erm...I used to get
very annoyed when I...when I bought something new and it would get
scratched or damaged or chipped. Erm... and sh...she always used to say
to me, "That's what gives it character. Now that it's got that scratch
or that chip, it's got history."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's a similar analogy.
...and it's very, very true.
I...no, I...we're...we're animals, no? We've got animal urges, animal
desires, er...but we...
No. exactly, we live in this kind of civilized society, but at the
end of the day we're monkeys in suits, and I think you have to embrace
that and...and deal with it.
Monkeys in suits?
More or less, man! That's what we are. Er...you've just got to...be a
good person, treat other people how you want to be treated yourself..er...try
and be a better person the next day..erm...but I think it's quite sad if
you sort of look at yourself and think..ohh..no!...I don't know, I'm
short, I'm not the best looking, but I'll....
You...you're a very positive person.
Well, I think that's all that one can do, no?
Finally, if you had 6,000 euros to spend on yourself, er...what would
I reckon I would...er...take myself and my young lady friend to...to
Japan for a month, or something like that, 'cos it's somewhere we'd both
love to go..er...
What...what attracts you..er..er...to Japan?
Erm..the...the culture, the spirit of the people. I practise er...Japanese
archery. It's this, like a zen practice. Erm...so, I'd love to go and go
to a proper Japanese dojo and shoot a few arrows there and just sort of
soak up the ambience. Er...yeah...and the food, I love the food! So, and...'cos
it's just such a long, varied country. To sort of go up north and sort
of explore there the countryside and then come down and se...see the...the
crazy metropolis that is Tokyo. Er...love to sort of sit in a...a
thermal bath, the kind of...y'know...where you've got these...these...I've...I've
got this very romantic vision of just like these tatami floors and the
little paper screen doors and things like that...
And great sushi!
Yeah, exactly! This is it! Although...I'm just a dream.
Ok, thank you very much. I didn't...I didn't know if there...you can
Try the cake
You've managed to resist, I've nearly finished mine.
I've just been gassing too much!