I’ve been in my job at a languages school in Spain for a solid 2 months now, so I thought I would give you a run down of a typical day. Before I started I read 1827928 blogs and YouTube videos about life as a language assistant so I hope this one helps you in settling your nerves like they did for me! I must say before you carry on reading, this is not a placement organised through the British Council. It is instead a private placement at a state-funded languages school (Escuela Oficial de Idiomas), so my timetable / work may not be typical of those at a BC placement!
I’m lucky to only work 3 days a week, Tuesday to Thursday, and only evening shifts from 4pm-9pm. So with only 15 hours of work a week and a 4 day weekend, I can’t pretend to have a hard life. But, I do still work so let’s have a look at what goes into my job!
11am: Wake up! I know you’re all laughing. This is ridiculously late and I should be ashamed of myself for the terrible habit I’ve got myself into. I tend to have a very easy morning, go to the supermarket if I need to and make a nice big breakfast to start the day right. (If you’re interested to see what I eat most days, you can have a look here!)
12pm – 2pm: Class planning! The large majority of job is leading conversation classes with students from varying levels (from pretty basic to very advanced). Each week teachers give me a theme, say “Volunteer Work”, and I plan an hour long discussion on the theme. So, this is normally the time of the day when I sit down with all my emails from teachers and plan my classes for my students. Even though having a chat for an hour seems pretty easy, I like to plan a lot of weird and interesting questions, a “word of the week”, maybe a tongue twisters – just to keep things interesting! Nothing worse than a bored class. If the students have asked me to explain something in particular, I’ll also prepare some work sheets to give them too!
3pm – 4pm: Travelling to work! I work in a town just south of Sevilla called Dos Hermanas. To get to work for 4pm, I have to leave mine at 3pm. I mean, it’s annoying having to travel for almost 2 hours everyday but it’s a lot better living in the city than living in Dos Hermanas – that place is dead.
4pm – 5pm: My first class! My first class of the day is normally a lower level class. This week their teacher actually wanted me to do a pronunciation class on -ed endings in the past simple form so I prepared some the explanation, a mispronunciation game, another little game and then a tongue twister to finish with
5pm – 5:30pm – Break! Yes, I know. I’ve only worked an hour today and I’m already on a break. But, by the time I tidy up from the last class, eat my lunch, print something out for my next class, I don’t have any time at all really.
5:30pm – 7:30pm: More Classes! The longest stint of classes I ever have is two hours, two classes back to back. The first is with C1 (so quite a high level) and the last with a middle of the range class (my largest class of a whole 7 people!). With my C1 class, we spoke about the meaning of happiness this week and whether we need money to be happy and with my other class we spoke about volunteer work, its advantages and disadvantages!
7:30pm – 8:30pm: “Off” / Library Clean Up! Usually I would have this time to prepare some more classes and activities but my head of department has entrusted me with cleaning, reorganising and recataloging the entire English library. I’m not complaining about the work at all, it’s nice to get my head stuck into something. It’s just an hour in a small little room starring at books is hardly ideal but it’s nice to be physically achieving something with my time.
9:30pm – 1am: Wind down! After such a hectic day (please get the sarcasm here), I just spend my evenings eating dinner whilst watching Downton Abbey (which I am completely and utterly obsessed with at the moment), writing blog posts, talking to my family and other little things.
I hope this blog post has given you some insight into the crazy and hectic (more sarcasm) life of a language assistant!
p.s. the header image is the town I work in, in case any of you were wondering!
See ya x