First Weeks as an Auxiliar de Conversación
I have been in Sevilla for over a month now! Time has already begun to fly by and I can officially find my way to most places I need to go without my GPS! The little victories of familiarizing myself with my surroundings, making new friends and learning how to say new things in Spanish are all celebrated (lots of times with a cervecita). Along with these come the bigger accomplishments associated with nestling into my new life here and slowly beginning to feel like I know what I am doing at my jobs! Since things are settling down I've been able to begin posting on the blog for my school, and thought I would make a post here to explain what I'm actually doing in Spain.
The program that I am here through is called Auxiliares de Conversación. My official title, in English, is Language and Culture Assistant in Spain. This program, run by the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport of Spain, places native English or French speakers (not just Americans) in schools all over Spain to assist in bilingual classroom settings. I applied for this program, where I was able to select three preferred regions of Spain, preferred city size, and which age group I'd prefer to teach. My number one preferred region was Andalucía (where Sevilla is located), and my preferences were a larger city and working with younger children. Upon receiving my placement I applied for a student VISA which enables me to live and work here for the duration of my program, and made plans to move to Sevilla!
The role of an Auxiliar can look very different depending on your placement. You could be asked to take on more of a lead-teacher role in your classes, or more of a collaborative role with the teachers. It really depends on what the school wants from you, and at times it becomes important to speak up on what you want your role to look like as well. I am lucky in that my role is in a lot of ways exactly what I was hoping for. I get to collaborate with teachers and am not expected to plan entire lessons, but I do get freedom to come up with presentations and share my language and culture in creative ways, such as running the school's English language blog and letting the kids dance to Rocky Top! The classes I work with are Natural Science (4 classes), Social Science (5 classes), Physical Education (5 classes), and Preschool level English (2 classes), and the ages I work with are around 2-12. I really love my school so far and have received a very warm welcome from the staff!
My first week at the school was spent observing my new classes, getting to know students and teachers, and introducing myself to everyone. During my second week I did a presentation to my classes to show them a little bit about my home through the five senses. We talked about what we saw in the pictures, and how Knoxville compares to Sevilla! I am looking forward to finding new ways of sharing my culture with my classes and making learning English fun, and I'm sure I will have plenty funny stories to share along the way. Here's the presentation I shared with my classes last week!