My name is Maria, I’m 23 years old, and I graduated from California State University, Northridge this past May. I’m originally from Mexico but I’ve lived in California for almost 11 years. I will be teaching in the region of Extremadura, particularly at IES Albalat in Navalmoral de la Mata and CEIP San Andrés in Almaraz.
Yay I’m in Extremadura too! Why did you decide to do the Auxiliares de Conversación program?
The main reason about participating in the program is my passion for teaching. I would always enjoy it when I explained to my classmates whatever they did not understand from the lesson. I see this opportunity as a gift to improve, not only professionally, but also at a personal level.
Do you have any teaching experience, or experience working with kids?
Besides babysitting my nieces on multiple occasions, I have worked at my city’s elementary school district as a teacher’s assistant in an autistic children’s classroom. I have also worked as an in-home tutor with children grades K-12.
Oh, great! So, there are lots of rumors that float around about the pros and cons of the program. What have you heard? Does it worry you?
Unfortunately, most of the rumors I’ve read are about the cons of the program. The one I’ve seen on multiple occasions is about late pay. Rumor has it that some regions pay auxiliares as late as January. Another rumor that I’ve read about is that some teachers take advantage of auxiliares by assigning them tasks they are not supposed to do. Despite all the rumors, I am ready for whatever challenge lies ahead, no matter how difficult it is.
That’s a great attitude to have about it. What are you most excited about in regards to the program and about living in Spain?
I would write a whole book about the things I’m excited about. Since I have a limited amount of space, I will be as brief as possible. Regarding the program, I’m excited for meeting and interacting with my future students because I believe I will learn so much from them. Overall, I’m thrilled about meeting new people and making new friends that I would like to keep for the rest of my life.
And what are you most nervous about? What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
Just like most people in this situation would be, I am nervous about moving on my own to another country. It’s the fact about getting there and not knowing anyone that makes me a little scared. The biggest challenge will be being away from my family and friends, keeping in mind that I have gotten more attached to them in the past few months.
Yeah it is definitely hard to leave family and friends. What are you expecting to learn while in Spain?
Since I didn’t experience it enough when I studied abroad there, I’m expecting to learn in more depth the culture of Spain. Beside the cultural aspect, I’m also expecting to grow as an individual, to be more mature. I am sure this opportunity will make me a better person, which is something my family will be proud about.
Absolutely! Are you familiar with Spain and Spanish culture? What do you think you’ll teach Spaniards about your culture?
After studying for a year in Granada, I can say that I’m somewhat familiar with Spanish culture. It’s this familiarization, as well as my curiosity to learn even more about it, that make me want to go back. I expect to give my students a taste of American culture. I would like them to learn the traditions we have in America, as well as the history behind them. For example, it would be interesting to teach them about Thanksgiving and, why not, have a nice dinner with them.
Thanks, María! Can’t wait to hear about your impressions at the end of the year! What do the rest of you want to teach your students? Tell me all about it below!