Life as a Language Assistant

I’ve been living and working as an English Language Assistant in Spain for almost three months now! The journey has been challenging, interesting and lot’s of fun!

A little bit about me

I studied Psychology at university and worked as a student psychologist at my local hospital in Bedfordshire, England. Mental health is a topic really close to my heart and I believe it is essential that we speak more openly about it. So I use my platform to share my story, raise awareness and educate people on topics related to mental health and well-being.

Why Spain and Why Teaching?

I was inspired to learn Spanish after a back packing trip to Cuba in 2018! I would have never guessed that I’d end up moving to Spain a few years later which has worked out perfectly as one of my goals is to develop my Spanish language skills.

Life really has a funny way of working out as I also never envisaged myself as a teacher, however, over the years I continued to find myself in teaching related roles. I have coached children and adults track and field athletics, worked in a college supporting students with learning difficulties and disabilities, mentored young athletes and delivered presentations across schools and organisations sharing my personal journey. These experiences have one underlying thing in common, which is helping an individual learn and grow; and isn’t this what being a teacher is all about! It makes sense that I keep finding myself within teaching and feel privileged that I’m able to impart my knowledge on something that comes natural to me.

My School

I.E.S Alpajes is a public secondary school in Aranjuez which is a town south of Madrid, Spain. It offers Educación Secundaria (ESO) and Baccalaureate Studies in Sciences and Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as Vocational training which covers Hospitality and Tourism and Food Industries.

I work with students in 4 ESO who are 15-16 years old , Bachillerato (16-17 years), as well as students taking vocational studies, specifically in the food and hospitality sector who are 18 years old and above. The subject areas I work across are: English, Physical Education and History.

Myself and the other language assistants on our first day 🙂

My role and responsibilities

I work alongside the main teacher in developing lesson plans which usually consists of presentations with videos and interactive activities such as quizzes. I ensure that every lesson involves group discussion e.g. a class debate and pair work so the students can practice their English language speaking skills. In addition, we have lessons or sections of a lesson that focus primarily on course specific vocabulary and pronunciation. I also try to include cultural specific information so the students can learn about British culture. My goal is to be a resource for the students, whether that be as a role model, a walking dictionary or someone who offers suggestions on a more natural way expressing something in English.

The Highlights

Although I’m only a third of the way in, the highlight has definitely been delivering my MindMindfully Mental Health workshops across four different classes over the past six weeks. The students were very receptive and I was proud to watch them express themselves so freely despite the sensitive nature of our discussions. I received positive feedback from both the teachers and students, and feel great satisfaction from making a small yet significant impact.

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