Kristina, what are you even doing over there? I don’t get it, what exactly do you do?
Like other auxiliares, I get tons of questions from friends, families, and other people interested in teaching English in Madrid.
Before I got here, I had no idea what to expect. I wanted details. I wanted an exact explanation of what being a teaching assistant was about. Based on my experience thus far as an auxiliar, each school is different from the teachers, the way they run things, nothing is certain!
I’m in a bilingual high school, or Secundaria, (ages 11-18) near the center of Madrid. I’m a teaching assistant. Keyword being assistant, yes I’m teaching English, but by no means did I study teaching.
What is a typical work day like?
Depending on the time of day it takes me between 30-45 minutes to get to school. Some people are closer, some are farther. I have an abono, or metro pass, that I use for the metro and Cercanias, or trains, and the bus to get to school. The picture below is where I walk from the bus stop.
The next photograph is what a schedule could look like. Mine has changed a few times since the year started. We have a break after third period, recreo, where I usually grab a café con leche y tostada con tomate in my school’s cafeteria.
English classes: Practicing speaking/writing, preparation for English exams (KET, PET, First Certificate). These are the classes I do the most in. I’ve done creative writing activities with my higher level English classes, which was one of my studies at Iowa.
Social Studies are my favorite classes. She prepares activities and I look over them, it’s a sort of tag-team deal. She joins in when I’m unsure about something. It’s mostly me speaking and letting the kids hear a native English speaker.
Teacher’s hour is mostly we just have coffee and chat.
While I feel helpful in these classes, I also do a lot of sitting and staring. Maybe being an English dictionary. I have no background in music and therefore am useless. I also know zero things about anything Science related, let alone Chemistry.
How much free time do I get?
I have quite some free time before my private lessons, which start around 5:30/6:00 p.m lasting an hour or so. During that time, I usually nap, eat lunch, work out, or plan lessons. We’re guaranteed at least one day off, usually Monday or Friday. Mondays are better because you get more long weekends. Here’s this year’s calendar showing what days we have off.
Can I travel?
OF COURSE. I’ve been doing mostly day trips around Madrid, like Aranjuez, Segovia, and Toledo. As you can see in the calendar, we have both winter break and spring break. I’ll be spending most of my time traveling during those times.
It won’t be like study abroad, you are working. This is a job. The study abroad lifestyle and the teaching English lifestyle are different. I still do plenty of traveling, going out, and exploring within Madrid. For most, we’re all working within our budgets to make the most of this experience.
**If you’re looking at teaching with younger children, primaria, I don’t know anything about it. But! I can always help someone find out. Personally, I like older kids, but that’s just me.
Still have more questions about teaching English in Madrid or in Spain? Comment below!