Greg is one of my good friends and colleagues and a first-time British auxiliar (language/teaching assistant) here in Madrid. Here is a mini interview I conducted with him about working and living in España!
1. Where are you from?
2. What made you decide to be an Auxiliar de Conversación?
I wanted to become an auxiliar de conversación because I wanted to get experience in teaching children before graduating from university so that I could have experience on my CV before applying for jobs as a Spanish teacher.
3. Is this your first time in Spain?
No. From June 2014-September 2014 I worked as a receptionist in a 4 star in a hotel in Oliva, Valencia.
4. Which program hired you?
5. What region were you placed in?
Madrid (Collado Villalba)
6. Why did you choose Madrid?
I chose Madrid because it is the best place to be able to go travelling from. Its central location is perfect and it has great links with short, medium and long distance trains, high speed trains, commuter trains, metro, tram, buses, coaches and bikes. It is a very accessible city. Despite being the capital, it is not at all touristy.
7. What grades do you teach?
Mainly 4th grade but also 6th grade two hours a week and 1st grade one hour a week.
8. Have you worked with children in education in the past?
9. What has surprised you the most about the Spanish education system?
The proficiency of the kids English at sixth grade. The level of English that they can potentially reach by the age of just 12 years old in a bilingual school is very high.
10. What is your favorite part of the job?
When they are grateful for the lesson planning that you have done for them. For example, when doing revision lessons for their science exams, they all commented how fun it was. It makes it a rewarding experience.
11. What is your least favorite part of the job?
Sometimes you can take the job home with you. For example, when the children don’t do some important homework for you, it can leave you feeling annoyed and you end up playing the situation out over and over again in your head.
12. What’s your favorite word or phrase your students use?
Hala! Como mola/Mola mazo. Jooooo.
13. Are you going to renew your position for another year?
Possibly, still debating.
14. What’s your favorite part of living in Spain?
I love the relaxed laid back lifestyle here in Spain, the friendliness of the people (especially in the neighborhoods) and how trustworthy Spaniards in general are. The price of everything! Where else can you get half a pint for 40 cents other than on that cheap bar on Gran Vía???
15. What advice would you give a prospective auxiliar?
Build a relationship with your students. Talk to the shy ones so they feel like they matter too. This way all the kids will feel comfortable with you and they will feel like they can approach you with ease. Personally, that is one of the most important aspects of being an auxiliar.
Gracias, Greg! 🙂
If you are a volunteer, language assistant, or English teacher abroad and would like to participate in an interview, let me know via the contact tab!
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