I know everyone is just itching to know what it’s like to be an auxiliar, or an English language and cultural assistant. The picture above is with my 4th graders in Madrid! First, I’d like to throw it back! When I first discovered CIEE through a random soul search on Google, I couldn’t believe my eyes! You work 16 hours a week, only FOUR days a week, teaching English and American culture to Spanish primary or secondary students with a monthly stipend and visa sponsorship to LIVE in Spain for a year!? “Sign me up!” was my first thought. I started devouring travel blog after travel blog to learn more about this position in Spain and to truly see if it wasn’t too good to be true. Everything I read encouraged my decision to take the plunge; the cons seemed so minuscule compared to the pros like: living in another country, learning Spanish, traveling to as many countries in Europe as we could on our 3-day weekends and many Spanish holidays and basically becoming a world traveller.
The process to get here through the CIEE application and the Visa process in general required dedication with all the time sensitive documents requested, but it was WORTH IT! Check out my blogs on both of these topics by clicking the hyperlinks!
I was placed at a primary school, per my request, and emailed the school about 3 weeks out to visit and go over scheduling. They were happy to receive my email and immediately set up a Friday to come tour the school and meet the administration. My school is approximately 45 mins commute from my lovely piso in Salamanca, Madrid and I live a convenient 3 mins walk from the metro. As long as you’re by a metro stop, typically your commute won’t be too bad.
I met with my bilingual coordinator, the designated school official who you “report” to and leave your concerns with. She speaks very good English and introduced me to all of the bilingual teachers, staff and sat down with me and the Head of Studies. The Head of Studies was also extremely welcoming with a warm hug and two kisses. She asked me which grades I would be most comfortable teaching and which day (Monday or Friday) did I want free. We didn’t create my weekly school schedule then and there but I was told I’d receive it the day we start teaching October 2nd. I loved seeing the children running around and trying their best to use English to say “hi” and “how are you?” The students refer to us and their teachers as “profe“, your first name, or “teacher”.
So, what IS it like being an auxiliar/English Language & Culture assistant at the school!?!
I will tell you everything. There are 4 other auxiliares at my school and we all have different schedules. Below is my schedule for a typical MONDAY, since I have Fridays OFF! I’m at the school starting at 9:00am-4:00pm.
On Tuesdays, I have a similar schedule– the breaks are the same, just different classes. On Wednesdays, I have a late start and can sleep in until 7:45am instead since I don’t have to be at school until 9:45am. On Thursdays I have a HALF DAY! I’m at school from 9:00am-12:30pm and then I have Fridays off!
The day goes by SO quickly. My school is a bilingual school, which means half of all lessons are taught in English (Science, English, Art, PE, and etc.) so the teachers ONLY speak English to them when they are in these classes.