My job title here is an assistant teacher of English at Andel. Andel is a bilingual school located in Alcorcon, about 20 minutes outside of the city of Madrid. Andel has a primary, secondary, and vocational school. I work with the coordinator of the English Department and together we develop activities to enhance and liven up the process of language acquisition at the school. We must communicate extensively with the staff in order to understand their current lesson units. This information aids us in creating appropriate material for the students. My current focus is with the primary students, years 1-3. They are terrific! They learn quickly and they are very eager and enthusiastic about the language.
The other day the coordinator and I put together several powerpoints for 63 1st year students. The idea was to use the material to reinforce a unit that had been recently completed by the teachers and to determine the students´ability to identify new vocabulary. For me, this was quite an undertaking! The management of 63 6 years old is no easy feat, but I am blessed to work beside somebody with many years of classroom experience. His ability to maintain the students focus while still allowing for a fun time amazed me. The students enjoyed themselves and I am happy that English can be presented in such a dynamic, multifacted manner. I think English is becoming associated with ¨awesome¨ in the minds of the kids. 🙂
I also work with struggling students, typically in pairs, and design smaller games to help them with topics. This requires creativity, energy, and patience. Education is a carefully crafted and deliberate process. It seems to be about building small steps for the students to climb. Progress is not linear, and the results don´t come instantly. However, small activities accumulate, days turn into weeks, and a month of learning adds up. The satisfaction of watching a student improve and become more confident in their abilities is amazing.
I also am an additional resource for teachers to use inside the classroom. This can consist of anything from helping to monitor the students or work as an aid during the execution of a lesson. My role in that capacity is only limited by the imagination of the teachers and I think that this aspect of the job is going to grow more interesting as I spend more time in the school. So far I have been used to observe Grade 6 english presentations on the solar system and to provide my own constructive feedback to the instructor and students. I have also been asked to deliver cultural presentations about life in the United States. What a great responsibility! The conversation consisted of my own experiences and observations of the NorthEast corridor of the country. I will be cooking some taylor ham, egg, and cheese with students and parents in the near future. New Jersey is getting it´s proper representation.
The opportunities here as an English educator appear to be good. I simply have to put myself out there. I have advertised my availability in the local neighborhoods and feedback is starting to slowly make its way to my mobile. I have begun to tutor privately outside of the school and this has become my second source of income. I am still early in my year here and am curious about what future opportunities lie ahead.
Hope all is well stateside!