Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting a series of interviews with fellow auxiliares. The interviews will be about the auxiliar’s expectations of the program and his or her expectations of the experience in Spain. At the end of the academic year the same participants will do a follow up interview to reflect on his or her experience and to summarize how accurate previous expectations were and final thoughts on the program. Be sure to follow along!
Our first participant is Aaron.
Hi all, My name is Aaron Dembowski and I am from Chicago, Illinois (yes the city and not the suburbs). I have been known to be a workaholic as I devote myself completely to whatever it is that I am passionate about. I graduated in November 2012 from DePaul University with a Spanish Education major. I am looking forward to experiencing life in a true Andalucian pueblo as I am placed at CEIP Lope de Vega in Casariche, Sevilla.
Cool! I majored in Spanish too, though not education. Why did you decide to do the Auxiliares de Conversación program?
I have decided to participate in the auxiliares program for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, being a certified Spanish teacher, I thought this experience would provide me with an invaluable opportunity to better myself for my future profession. In addition, I wanted this experience to help me break away from my dependence on my parents. During this adventure, I will get to know myself on such a deeper level, leading me to really understand what it means to be self-reliant. Lastly, to learn—to learn from the world around you which is something that cannot be taught inside a classroom.
Great! So then you must have teaching experience and experience working with kids.
Yes, I am a certified Spanish teacher in Illinois and am capable of teaching K-12 Spanish. I have held several substitute teacher positions in the primary grades, while I carried out my student teaching in a large Chicago public high school.
That experience will be a great advantage that many others don’t have. In regards to the program, there are lots of rumors that float around about the pros and cons. What have you heard? Does it worry you?
I have definitely heard that many schools are unaware of how to utilize an auxiliar. I have a very minor worry about this only due to the fact that I do work hard and try to please everyone which in turn may cause me to be taken advantage of a little bit. Also, that the Ministerio de Educación and the auxiliary program itself is poorly organized. I honestly haven’t had any problems thus far with receiving my placement info in a timely manner nor with my visa process. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.
Congrats on having a smooth visa process! What are you most excited about in regards to the program and about living in Spain?
I’m most excited about experiencing life from a completely different perspective. I’m looking forward to learning from the people I come into contact with, to better my language ability, and to gain more experience teaching.
And what are you most nervous about? What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
The thing I’m most nervous about is leaving family and friends behind. My biggest challenge will be spending holidays and family birthdays away from my loved ones.
Yeah, being away from home for the holidays is rough! But what do you expect to learn from your time in Spain?
I expect to learn what it is to be a self-reliant adult, capable of making and handling my own decisions and what may arise. I want to struggle and get knocked on my ass because it is in those instances which you can grow to become a stronger individual.
Are you familiar with Spain and Spanish culture? What do you think you’ll teach Spaniards about your culture?
I am very familiar with Spain and Spanish culture, as I have studied the language and culture since high school. In addition, I have spent a semester studying in Madrid.
Through my teaching, I hope to break down the cultural barriers that create a separation between each of our cultures. I plan on showing the many differences but also the vast amount of similarities that join us together as citizens of the world. Maybe some vocabulary sprinkled in as well 😉
Thanks so much for your responses, Aaron! I think you’re pretty well prepared for the job and I’m certain you’ll fall in love with Spain. Can’t wait to follow you throughout the year and to hear your opinions in the spring.
To everyone else, what are your expectations of the program? Have you heard rumors? Is there anything you’re nervous or excited about? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Be on the look out for our next Auxiliar Spotlight soon!