A Day in the Life of a Language Assistant in Madrid

Authored by:
Hilary Leslie

Hilary Leslie

I participated in CIEE's Teach in Spain program from 2015-2017 and was placed outside of Madrid central in the municipality, Collado Villalba. Upon receiving my placement, I was quite nervous as I studied Google Maps and anticipated a long commute. However, upon arrival I learned how to use the public transportation options that are not all listed on Google Maps, and realized that my commute wouldn't be bad at all. 

Your school schedule will depend on your placement school. Many auxiliares (assistants) work Monday to Thursday, but my placement school required the other three assistants and I to come in Tuesday through Friday. Since we were working on a student visa, we could not work more than four days a week. However, other private language academies may offer temporary positions and you will be bombarded with tutoring opportunities from parents at the beginning of the year. 

Every language assistant I had spoken to had their own unique experience. Some assistants taught only at their placement schools with plenty of time to travel, take Spanish classes, join a gym, etc. Others completely filled their days with private tutoring, conversation exchanges, and other small jobs. I taught at my placement school every day, once a week I gave English classes at a local high school, once a week I gave private lessons to two of my students, and twice a week I taught second graders at a local English academy.

With that said, here is a photo tour of how one of my busiest days looked during my first year in Madrid: 

6:45 am: Wake up and hit the snooze button till about 7:10. Get dressed, eat breakfast, pack a lunch, and make sure I have all of my lessons (for the afternoon) ready for the day.

7:50 am: Leave my apartment in Arguelles and take the metro at the end of my street one stop to the bus station (Moncloa). 

8:10 ish am: Take the bus to Collado Villalba with my assistant friends which takes more or less 25 minutes (depending on how much coffee the bus driver has had that morning and how much traffic you run into). 

8:35 am: Walk from the bus stop to school.


8:45 am: Three of us visit and do some artwork as final, “quiet before the storm” activities before the students flood the stairway and the halls. 

9:00 am: School starts. My days are split between helping 1st, 2nd, and 6th grade classes. The board with the posters are ones I’ve made for second grade throughout the year. 

11:45 am: “Patio” or break time for the kids while the teachers have a coffee and a small breakfast. On Fridays we get churros! 

12:15 pm: Back to classes.

2:00 pm: School ends and lunch time! I also plan the rest of my lessons for the afternoon private lessons. 

2:45 pm: Walk to a local French/Spanish bilingual high school to give English lessons from 3:00-4:00. 

4:00 pm: Walk to a local English academy to teach second graders from 4:30-5:30.


5:30 pm: Walk to the bus stop and ride back to Madrid central.


6:05 pm: Arrive back at the bus station.


6:10 pm: Take the metro back to my street.


6:15 pm: Arrive at home and have a much needed break with a coffee or tea! 

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