I’ve been working in Serra de Outes for about three weeks now. There are about 200 students at the school. Ranging from the ages of 3-12 (what a range, huh!?). Thus far, I absolutely love my job. In addition to working as a language and cultural assistant in Serra de Outes, I also work at an infantry school here in Santiago and I work with a 12 year old boy named Pablo every Tuesday.
Job No. 1 – CEIP Plurilingüe da Serra de Outes
As an auxiliar, we’re required to work 12 hour work weeks (so many hours, I can’t even handle it!). I work Tuesday-Thursday from 10:00am – 5:00pm.
School starts at 10:00 a.m. every day. I have to commute to school. As I have mentioned before, the bus ride is about an hour long, but luckily, my coworker, Toño has been kind enough to drive me everyday (it’s a 20 minute drive). We leave Santiago around 9:00am, get to Serra de Outes around 9:30am and always go to the cafe across the street for a cafe con leche. Car rides with Toño are always entertaining – on the way to school, we speak Spanish, and on the way home we practice English and Galician.
I work with two different English teachers – Vanesa and Carla. Vanesa and I usually work with the kids of the ages of 3-5 year olds as well as the 1st, 2nd, and 5th graders. We do arts and crafts, practice our colors, and tell stories. I reallly love working with them. Carla and I work with grades 2, 3, 4, and 6. We focus on vocabulary, sentence structure, pronunciation and writing in English.
A typical morning (after coffee) looks like this:
- 1st hour – class with either Vanesa or Carla
- 2nd hour – class with either Vanesa or Carla
- Thirty minute break from 12:00 – 12:30
—- MORE COFFEE! with “The Coffee Group”—-
- 3rd hour – class with Vanesa or Carla
- Lunch from 1:30 – 3:30 (sooo long)
To kill time after I finish eating, I usually either take a very uncomfortable nap on the table, watch a movie (right now I’m watching The Godfather trilogy), or read the newspaper
- 4th hour – class (for 45 minutes)
- 5th hour – class (for 45 minutes)
The days are pretty long, but all the changes in my schedule make time go by pretty fast. I’m not supposed to speak spanish – the students think I only speak English, but there have been several students who have been asking me if I speak/understand Spanish. They came up to me told me, “I heard you speaking Spanish to the director!” I looked back at the girl, and said, “whaaattt? I only speak English!” Pretty sure she didn’t believe me, but that’s ok :p I honestly don’t like not being able to speak Spanish with the students. I feel that they are oftentimes scared to ask me for help because they don’t know how to ask.
Job No. 2 – Kids Garden Santiago
I work at Kids Garden every Monday and Friday from 9:30am-10:30am. I start my day with the 2-3 year olds. I ask them what the weather is like (is it sunny, rainy, snowing, windy, cloudy, etc.), we sing and dance, practice our vocab and colors – right now we’re focusing on colors related to Autumn. After half an hour, I go upstairs to spend the rest of my time with the 1 year olds. We sing and dance (even more than I do with the 2-3 year olds) and practice our animals. I felt really embarrassed my first day at Kids Garden because I am a terrible singer, but I know that that’s the best way to learn and teach – singing and dancing in order to keep their attention. My first day at Kids Garden was mortifying (at least with the 1 year olds). I walked into the “Green Jungle” and was greeted by 8 sobbing babies. I just finished my second day at Kids Garden, and today was soo different. One of the little girls cried when I left. I felt so sad leaving her behind, but I feel better knowing that they have warmed up to me (at least a little bit).
Job No. 3 – Pablo
On Tuesdays, after I get back to Santiago, I go to Campus Sur (South campus of the University of Santiago de Compostela) and go to the athletic department where I meet up with Pablo. Both of his parents work at the university and both have offices in Campus Sur. We go into either his dads or moms office and practice speaking. Pablo’s English is practically perfect! I was worried that we would run out of topics to talk about, but he’s not shy at all, which really helps to keep the conversation going. I’ve learned that he’s a huge basketball fan (prefers it more than fútbol), likes to eat pizza and ice cream, and wants to be a firefighter and would love to travel to NYC.