About two and a half years ago, I moved to Madrid from the United States. I had just graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. I have always been interested in learning other languages in an effort to better understand cultures other than my own: I’ve been studying both French and Spanish since high school. I spent my junior year studying abroad in Seville, Spain, where I focused most of my effort into assimilating as much as possible, living in a shared flat with three other Spanish girls and trying to improve my Spanish to a (self-evaluated) C1-C2 level. Academics aside, after spending a year in Spain I fell in love (as cliché as it sounds) with this country – I knew I wanted to move back as soon as I finished my degree, and worked hard in multiple side jobs to make it a possibility.
Here you can see my CV for a look at previous jobs I have held and professional skills.
Work in Spain
I’ve been working as Language Assistant (Auxiliar de conversación) in a bilingual high school in the town of Algete, north of Madrid. In this blog, I’ve put together a selection of the lessons I have helped to plan and the many activities I have prepared for my students. Hopefully this will serve as some inspiration to other teachers who need ideas for their high school students as well.
Being an assistant (as opposed to a full-time teacher), has given me some wonderful opportunities to connect with my students in a very different way. While I of course correct grammar when the opportunity arises, I have found that my position allows me the freedom to focus less on grammar and more on “fun” didactic materials, such as culture and colloquial English. My goal is to be able to teach the kids something that they would otherwise come across, something that might not be focused on by a main teacher or a Spanish native. I also believe my relative closeness in age with my students allows them to open up to me, so that they can have speaking practice in an informal way with a native speaker.
Another thing that I am passionate about and love to bring into the classroom are social justice issues. I love to explore feminism, racism, equality, etc related to Spain and the United States, especially with older students. If I can get even one student to question beliefs they had never questioned before, I feel I have succeeded. For me, learning is about those moments where minds open and socially established beliefs are challenged.
With almost two years as a teaching assistant under my belt, I feel as though I have learned an incredible amount about interacting with students, organization, and lesson planning. However, I think that the next thing I would like to tackle is learning about classroom management. I am in a few difficult classes, and I think it would be beneficial for me to learn and practice some tactics to better control classes and students that aren’t the most well-behaved. I will focus on that in the future, as well as continuing to learn from the teachers around me and add more resources to my growing list.