I am here to teach, baby! Yes, there are an infinite number of awesome perks to living and working in Spain but the reason I signed up for the program is to teach some youngsters how to speak English. I will be the first person to admit that I feel extraordinarily lucky to be placed at my school with awesome colleagues and interesting students, but I will also admit that I put in a lot of work to be the best auxiliar (assistant) that I can be. It is harmony.
Below is a day in my work life.
GETTING TO SCHOOL
Depending on the day, I have different methods of getting to and from school. Three days out of the week I ride with teachers. Monday is back/forth with one teacher and Tuesday/Thursday I ride to school with another teacher in the morning and back to my city with a different teacher in the afternoon. On Wednesday, I do not start until 1:00pm so I ride the bus to school which is 1,75 euros and takes about 20 minutes. The bus stop is very close to my school, so I just need to walk a couple minutes.
The first day of school my coordinator helped me sort this, but it was on me to initiate the conversation. I suggest doing this ASAP. After determining who I was going to be riding with, it was once again on me to chat with each teacher and figure out the best time & location to meet each day. This might seem like a daunting task for the first day, without knowing a single soul, but just have to suck it up and make it happen. Riding with other teachers is clutch time to practice Spanish too.
I teach Music, Geography & Social Sciences, and Physical Education. My awesome coordinator told me on the first day that she assigned these subjects to me because of my former job and my interests that I sent her a couple months before which I thought was pretty cool of her to do. Teaching is hands down the best part of my day. Prior to working as an aux I was not sure if I would like teaching but after a couple months in, I love it. I am lucky to have awesome teachers that: 1) collaborate with me on what they want and 2) give me free reign to implement what I want.
In Music class, I run the show – I am at the front of the class for the entire hour teaching material or playing games. In Geography & Social Sciences, it is the same situation – the teacher lets me know what she wants the prior week, so I have time to prepare material and the for the majority of the class I am teaching. For PE, I am working with the other teacher in the gym, or outside, to explain the activities. After that, I am monitoring them and joining in to play from time-to-time.
What each auxiliary wants to do and what is expected seems to vary from class to class, and school to school. Make it yours!
BREAKS WITH COWORKERS
Every day from 11:30am-12:00pm the teachers and students have a snack break. My school has a café right across the street so a large group of us walk over there for coffee and some light grub. I love this time because it is a great way to practice Spanish and get to know my coworkers. Some teachers use this as chance to do some school work done but for me it is an opportunity to hang with the crew.
I probably spend a total of 3-4 hours a week outside of school prepping whatever I plan on teaching. Power points, games, flip cards, etc. – I try to make them as interesting as possible. One of my teachers is very vocal about what she wants while the others are free-range chickens. It is fun to get creative and changes things up each week.
It was very important to me to know the names of my colleagues and students, so a couple days into my first week I asked the administration team if they could print off lists of the teachers and students. Lucky for me they had documents with names and pictures for all the classes and they were happy to print for me. I know it is a tad extra, but I spent some of my free time each day studying the documents. No way I know the name of every student, but I do know most, and I know that it goes a long way for both the teachers and the students. Just like in the States, a person would prefer to be called by their name instead of “hey man!” I still holler “hey man” and “yo dude” to students but they know that I know their name.
A day in the life of an aux is a pretty dang sweet day. The variety each day keeps things interesting and seeing improvement in the students’ English is rewarding.