For anyone keeping track, I’m currently what you call an Auxiliar de Conversación in Madrid. I’ve been doing this since February last year, and it’s a pretty sweet gig. I’m definitely not gonna complain about 16 hours a week for €1000 a month. That’s a lie. I am going to complain. Because it’s currently June, the end of the school year, which means I’m just about ready to nap forever now please. So to mark the end of my time at this year’s school, I thought I’d do a little day in the life style post, documenting what a typical day was like for me. Admittedly, if I’d written this earlier in the year this probably would have been a lot more positive, but that’s not my style. So instead, here’s a day in the life of a slightly frazzled language assistant approaching summer vacation.
If you’re currently applying for the programme, I’m sorry. If you’re currently in the programme, you get me.
6:00: Aaaaah I hate that noise. Even changing it to Taylor Swift doesn’t make waking up at this time any less painful for me.
6:15: Okay, so I should probably get up now or something.
6:40: I am leaving the house. Keys, phone, abono, money, okay. I hope the metros are running on time today. Also, what is breakfast? Who is awake enough to deal with that at this time in the morning?
6:52: Come on, metro. Go go go. We can do this. Do not make me miss my train dammit.
6:59: GET OUT OF MY WAY, PEOPLE OF ATOCHA. Maybe I should start leaving my house earlier or something? Nah.
7:01: Made it! Time to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack in preparation for my day. Revolution and teaching are practically the same thing anyway.
7:16: Everybody give it up for America’s favourite fighting Frenchman! LAFAYETTE!
7:44: Why is it colder here than in the city? Does all that smog keep me feeling toasty? Ewww, fresh air.
7:55: I feel I shouldn’t be expected to be at work yet if the bakeries don’t even have any napolitanas ready. This is just inhumane.
8:05: Time to say ‘buenas’ 82 times in a row whilst all the teachers appear. Why did I leave the UK again?
8:15: Game Face on. Let’s do this.
8:24: Aaaaaaand the teacher’s not here yet. How long do I wait before getting someone to help me control these monsters? How are children so loud at this time?
8:27: The sixteen year olds are revolting. Send help.
9:05: The first class is over and all I was asked was how to spell something by the teacher. I didn’t actually know, but can’t really admit that as I get paid to speak English, so I made it up.
9:10: About to give a presentation on popular books for teenagers. Let’s find out how out of date I am with the teenagers of today!
9:23: LIKE NONE OF THESE KIDS HAVE READ HARRY POTTER.
9:37: Teacher tries to tell the students that examples of genres are plays, poetry, and novels. Despite me just using the sentence “part of the fantasy genre”. I can’t tell if they just don’t listen to me or think I’m constantly wrong, but I’ve learnt to pick my battles.
10:15: I’m with the oldest kids in the school now. They keep forgetting I’m a ‘teacher’ and insult the real teachers in front of me. I try not to laugh but sometimes they’re just too hilarious with their insults.
10:34: Would it be unprofessional to eat a banana right now?
10:49: I am definitely not qualified to be teaching the suffragette movement and got all of this information from Wikipedia last night. Sorry not sorry.
11:00: BREAK TIME. Finally the banana is mine.
11:20: I have a free period but no one else does. I’m sure I’d be much more productive if the WiFi worked, but this is Spain.
11:51: Is this job really beneficial to my future? Let the existential dread sink in!
12:15: Now for the youngest kids in the school. Who speak literally zero English. We’re gonna listen to Justin Bieber.
12:20: Apparently 12 year olds in Spain do not like Justin Bieber.
12:31: “What are the Spanish lyrics?” That is definitely not the point of this exercise.
13:10: THE BELL HAS GONE. I AM HOME FREE. Oh wait, I’m not. Because I have to wait around an hour to then spend another hour in a ‘staff meeting’ that I won’t even speak in. Sixteen hours a week, suuuuure…
14:17: Like only half of the actual proper teachers show up for this but you know if any assistants bailed there’d be CONSEQUENCES.
14:20: “We’ll make it a quick one” Sure you will.
15:10: WINE WINE WINE WINE.
17:00: Finally heading back home. Can I nap on this train?
18:30: Oh look, an email asking me to plan a lesson sent a day before said lesson. I love when this happens.
18:50: How does one sum up the British political system in a single powerpoint?
19:30: I just want to watch The Office until I morph into Netflix.
20:15: I guess I should eat something that didn’t come free with a glass of wine.
21:00: It’s hard to adult when your day job is so SOUL CRUSHING.
21:45: Gonna pack my bag for tomorrow and lay out all my clothes so I can stay in bed ’til the last possible moment.
22:00: I guess I should probably think about going to bed if I want a decent amount of sleep. This is what my life has become.
As much as I may complain about this job, I actually really enjoy it. The teaching part and the kids are great, it’s just a little hit and miss with the schools (I’ve experienced both). But overall, as someone whose own language education was pretty underwhelming, it’s a pretty rewarding job. And if you’re looking into the programme yourself, I hope I didn’t scare you off too much.