In the morning
It’s about half an hour from the “rendezvous point” to Abanqueiro where our school is. In the first 15 minutes we pass through dozens of tiny villages, roll around hills, go in and out of forests, and pass by rural homes, chapels, and vineyards. By the time we get to Padrón, we shift into high gear and merge onto the highway that traces the coast of the Ría de Arousa, a narrow inlet of the Atlantic Ocean.
|Neighborhood plaza near the school|
|Time for work!|
This split-schedule is super awkward for us teachers who commute from out of town, but because the school is in such a small town, it’s really no big deal for the parents to come and pick up their kids for lunch, which is the main meal of the day in Spain.
On Monday mornings, I plan the week’s lessons with Fran. We always go through the textbooks and workbooks and figure out what activities we’re going to assign, and sometimes put together vocabulary lists or prepare special events.
Of the twelve periods I work in, I’m only in four of them with Fran; i.e., this English teacher is alone in the other eight classes. This hasn’t ever been a big deal for me, despite never having studied education in college, because Fran is always super helpful in showing me the ropes. It also helps that there’s always another teacher in the classroom to keep the kids quiet or to translate complex directions for a game.
|Me and the 6th graders|
In my preschool classes (3- to 5-year-olds), I begin with singing some songs, then we either learn or practice English vocabulary while I panic and try find some way to play a game integrating words like “grandma” and “brother” before we all Go To The Tables!!! and hit the activity books, which are mainly just coloring, pattern recognition, and stickers—but a great way to reinforce the vocabulary we just learned. Once a month we use the digital activities on the smart board, which the kids go gaga over. They love getting to play the computer games but I don’t think they realize they’re actually practicing their English!
|Comfort food for Tuesday lunch|
|View on my walk home|
This year I haven’t been very persistent about picking up private English classes, but on Monday evenings I give a middle-aged Spanish couple a conversation class for an hour.
On the weekend
|Praza das Praterías, Santiago de Compostela|
Anyway, weekends are my time for Getting Things Done™, which can include: going to the bank to pay the rent, ordering and receiving new bombonas or butane gas tanks, sending mail at the post office, getting up early to go to the market for fresh food before they close at 2pm, buying the rest of the groceries at the supermarket, writing posts for this very blog, sifting through, editing, geotagging, uploading, and tagging photos, reading novels, going on hikes, hanging out with friends over tapas, strolling around town, checking out random churches or museums in town, going on daytrips to towns and villages in the surrounding area, FaceTime-ing with friends and family, cooking meals to last me the week, taking siestas, baking cookies, and drinking tea.
If you’ve ever been an auxiliar de conversación before, how did your daily schedule compare to the one I’ve just described? Tell me your experience in the comments below!