For the 2014-2015 school year, I have been working at CEIP Salvador Allende in Malaga, Spain through the Auxiliares de conversación program. This program gives native english speakers the opportunity to live in Spain for one school year and work as a language assistant. This is my second year with the program, in my first year I worked in a small school in Guadix, Granada.
As a second year, I was more prepared for the expectations and duties required of me but I still had to make adjustments to my new school and learn to work with my new teachers. One of the biggest differences between my first and second year as a language assistant is the size of the school that I worked in last year versus this year. In my first year, I worked in a small school with only 10 different classes. Because of this, I was able work with every class from Infantil to 6th grade, and I worked with grades 1-4 twice each week. On my first day of school here at Salvador Allende, I was surprised at how big the school was and how many students there were. I work with at least twice as many students this year. Of course, every situation and every school is different so there are positive and negatives to each. Last year, since I worked with each class more often, I was very lucky to be able to develop close relationships with most of my students and understand their personal strengths and weakness which let me provide assistance appropriate for what the individual student needed. This year, I am lucky to have a lot of students, and even though I work in each class less often, I am able to spread knowledge of my country and help improve the English of a greater number of students. Overall, I am happy to have had such different experiences in my two years here in Spain because now I am able to better understand the unique challenges of working in a large or small school and I have the skills to teach in both situations.
Here at Salvador Allende, I teach science in grades 1-6. For each unit, I help the students to learn and correctly pronounce the new vocabuary and help to explain the main concepts. My role changes in each class depending on the teacher that I am working with and what the students need. In some classes, I work with the entire class as one big group to explain topics using visual aids like flashcards or a computer presentation. For me, this is very helpful so that the students don´t get confused and can understand what I am trying to explain. With other classes, I work with the students from their textbooks to explain and complete activities and then correct the work together on the blackboard. Sometimes, the students like to read out loud from their textbooks which gives them an opportunity to practice their English, and gives me the chance to listen to their prononuciation and correct any errors. In other classes I work with students in small groups of 4-5 students reviewing the vocabulary and main topics of the unit while the teacher works with the rest of the class.
My first term at Salvador Allende has been very interesting and I have learned a lot. I´ve enjoyed working with the bilingual team and every teacher I work with has made me feel very welcome and comfortable in their classes which I appreciate a lot. The bilingual meeting each week is great for planning activities and discussing what has worked in the past and what can be improved for the future. I´m looking forward to the rest of my time here and I´m sure I will continue to learn new things as time goes on.