One thing we’ve all learned about the auxiliar program is that no two persons’ experiences are exactly the same. I’m writing this post to share with you a glimpse of my life as a language assistant.
I work in the city of Leganés, with the primaria students at CEIP Lope de Vega. Since it is included in the province of Madrid, I work 16 hours a week and make €1000 a month. My schedule itself is relatively stable, and my director is accommodating with exchanging days off. I start at 9:00 am Monday – Thursday, and leave at 2:00 pm everyday except Monday (1:15 pm). If you’re doing the math, you probably realized that adds up to more than 16 hours. To make up for this, my school gives me a 45 minute break every Wednesday and Thursday.
I consider myself lucky regarding my schedule, as I have friends with much more complicated hours. My roommate starts work at a different time each day, sometimes 8:00 am and sometimes 11:00 am. I’m sure it’s nice to have a late start sometimes, but my circadian rhythm would not be able to keep up. Another one of my friends teaching in bachillerato has a two hour break in the middle of her day. It’s basically like she had an 8 hour shift by the time she finally gets back home!
That being said, here’s an little breakdown of a typical Tuesday for me.
7:16 AM – Alarm goes off *hits snooze*
7:24 AM – Alarm goes off *hits snooze*
7:30 AM – Alarm goes off. Roll over and check social media until I feel like moving.
7:40 AM – Shower, get dressed, do hair, and get breakfast (usually a granola bar, croissant, and piece of fruit).
8:20 AM – Scurry out of the house and walk about 3 blocks to catch my bus on time
8:25 AM – Ride the 484 bus from Oporto to Leganés Central. It’s about a 45 minute ride.
9:00 AM – English (2B). Play an English song on YouTube about days of the week, weather, months, or something (they are young, so they are still impressed by music). Then we work with the lesson directly from the book’s CD. Sometimes together as a class using the SmartBoard, sometimes individually with the teacher and I helping as needed. If necessary, I will take 4-6 students who need a bit more help outside of the class to work alone. This week the kids are learning the seasons, clothing, and seasonal sports/activities.
9:45 AM – Art class (1A). The teacher and I explain a very simple project, and make sure the students are doing it correctly. This week, we made lions with paper plates. They’re first graders, so honestly they’re just ecstatic to use crayons and glue and whatnot. Easy 45 minutes.
10:30 AM – Social Science (2B). This is the only class we don’t have the audio/CD for, so we go old school and work directly out of the book. Sometimes it’s hard to keep their attention since they’re so used to using the SmartBoard, but we get the job done anyway. I find it helps to pick on students to read instead of trying to read to them, and then I review what they’ve covered when they finish.
11:15 AM – English (1B). This goes pretty much the exact same way as English with second grade, just more helping, coloring, and engaging with the students. This week we’re learning concepts like there is/are, isn’t/aren’t, fruits, and insects. We always use the SmartBoard, and encourage the children to read aloud. Sometimes I take groups of 4-5 students to cover a lesson more intensively. At the end of each unit, I do individual verbal evaluations to see which students need help with what. The first grade teacher is amazing, so their overall English level is pretty impressive.
12:00 PM – Lunch time for the teachers, patio (recess) for the children. Our school provides us with free bocadillos (usually jamon and cheese, sometimes sardines, tortilla, or tuna), bread and toppings, desserts, fruits, coffee, juice, and tea. Again, I am quite lucky as many of my friends have to pay to eat lunch at their school.
12:30 PM – Natural Science (1B). Since this is the first class after recess, the kids always run into the room like a bunch of lunatics. We have the class put their heads down in silence for 60 seconds, and begin the lesson. Again, we use the SmartBoard, and work on 2-5 exercises out of the book. This week we’re covering everything animals: the life cycles, what they eat, what they’re hovered in, where the live, etc.
1:15 PM – Social Science (1B). Exact same process as second grade, except the first graders usually listen better.
2:00 PM – Class over! Walk about 10 minutes to Leganés Central to take the 484 bus home.
3:00 PM – Finally home
And that’s my day. Not bad, huh?