Written by Karrie
2-5 October 2017
I now have one week under my belt of officially working in Spain as an Auxiliar de Conversación, or a Language Assistant, in a public secondary school (equivalent to the United States’ middle school and high school combined together) working with students age 12-20 years old. After my first week I can already say that I love my school, the staff, and the students. This is my first time working consistently with students older than age 11, and I think it is going to be amazing. Their English levels are very good so it will be fun building relationships with them and having conversations. My schedule is varied and interesting. I am helping in many of the English classes, but also get to work in a graphic design class, an art class, a science class, and a PE class! And best of all—I do not have to schedule meetings, attend meetings, write any paperwork whatsoever, or have any other stresses of my job as a speech-language pathologist in the public schools in the United States! I just get to do the absolute best parts of my former job, which are working with students on improving communication skills and collaborating with other teachers.
My school’s staff has been very welcoming and kind. Many of the teachers speak English and some do not at all, but everyone has made an effort to talk to me. I also get to assist with a conversation group once a week with the bilingual teachers who want to improve their English skills, which will be a great way for me to continue building relationships with the staff members. I also had thought that I would be taking a train or a bus to my school, which is about 30 miles away from where we are living. But after the first day, I was added to the very organized and complicated carpool group. The carpool gives me a wonderful opportunity to listen to Spanish conversations amongst adults, which is helping me learn the prosody and flow of the language.
Overall I could not be more pleased with my school placement! I am very excited to see what this school year brings in terms of my own professional growth and in the relationships I’m sure to create with staff members and students.