My Life as an Auxiliar in Spain

I get a lot of emails that inquire about my life in Spain. Most people ask if I’m friends with other auxiliares, what I do in my free time, and what I do at my colegio.

So here’s a little glimpse into my auxiliar life here.

I work at an awesome school located in Alcorcón. Mondays are my busiest day because I teach 6 classes. Mondays and Wednesdays I finish at 3:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:30, and Fridays at 1:35. The earliest I have to be at my school is 9:25 and that’s on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. You may think that since I go in at that time it means I don’t have to get up so early…well, you’re wrong. I live in the outskirts of Madrid, so the commute to my school takes 1.5 hours. So on the days I have to go in at 9:25, I wake up at 6:30, and am on the bus that takes me to the metro by 7:40. Since I have a decent commute, I’ll normally pass the time listening to music, or reading on my kindle, and sending whatsapps to my fellow language assistants since everyone else back home is asleep.

Most of the time, I get to the school around 9:10 so that gives me a good amount of time to get myself together for my first class. I have class from 9:25-11:15 (That’s two class periods). Then I have a merienda break until 11:45. During this time, I go to a nearby cafe with my fellow teachers and have some coffee along with a tostada con mermelada.

[Side note 1: I have been extremely lucky in that I get along spectacularly with the faculty at my school. They have invited me to meet up with them many times during the weekend to go shopping together or out to eat. I can definitely say that they constantly keep me laughing. They’re always joking with me saying that I’m going to tell everyone back home that the teachers in Spain are all insane. What I will be telling people is that if all the faculty in Spain is like the one at my school, then it’s the best faculty in the world.]

Due to the fact that we spend the vast majority of our break talking, we always end up rushing to get back in time for the next class. Then it’s full force ahead from 11:45-2:30 or 3:30 depending on the day. Tuesdays are nice because I don’t start until 11:45 and Fridays are spectacular because I only teach one class at 12:40 and then I’m done for the day. Granted, Fridays are the days that I have BEDA class, but since those aren’t that often, I normally get to do some shopping or go to my all-time favorite pastry shop in Las Rozas (Pan Coffee). The woman who works there, Vicki, knows me by name and will normally start cutting the slice of cheesecake I always order as soon as I walk through the door. I love that about Spain. How you can have such a nice relationship with the people who work at the locations that you frequent the most often. A few weeks ago, my friend Diana and I were at LUSH buying a birthday gift for a friend of ours, and the LUSH employee recognized me because I go there so often. Granted, this was the same employee who witnessed me spill about half of a container of lotion that they had on display down my jacket, jeans, and boots sooo I guess that would be somewhat memorable.

[Side note 2: I don’t really want to bore you with the details of what I do with each class. I will tell you that the coordinator always meets me with me once a week and tells me what I’ll be doing with my ESO classes during the following week. This week, for example, my ESO classes have to pick a song, print about 5 copies of the lyrics with blanks, and lead the class in a listening activity using the song. I made my 2 ESO students translate it as well because they have a higher English level than the 1 ESO students. With my Bach students I am required to do the listening and speaking sections of their textbook to the corresponding unit they’re on and then another activity of my choosing. If you would like more details regarding what I do with my classes, let me know. I’d be happy to write up a post about it. Or if you’d like me to tell you in an email, that works too.]

The weekend is when I’ll try to make it into Madrid to see my friends. Sometimes we’ll go shopping and others we’ll go get something to eat. [Side note 3: One of my good friends here has a blog which you can see here.] A few weeks ago we celebrated Sean’s birthday by having brunch and then walking around Madrid. I’ll leave you with the pictures from the occasion at the end of this post. I will try to update again soon. Feel free to ask me any other questions you may have about auxiliar life here in España, I’m more than happy to help. Como siempre…¡hablamos luego!

Here are some pics as promised (Click on the image to enlarge it):


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Colleen
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 17:46:15

    Reblogged this on Expatlove and commented:
    So sometimes I love to step out of my own reality here in France and get a taste for what life as an Expat is like for other Americans. I love this blog and thought this was the perfect post to share with all my followers… Enjoy!


    • Yari
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 19:49:13

      Thank you so much for sharing my post! I’m glad that you like my blog 🙂 I saw that you posted that you’re using duolingo to brush up on Italian. I use that for French and Italian…but I’m having a tough time with Italian, to be honest. I’ve mastered a lot of the French categories, but Italian is proving to be quite difficult for me.


      • Colleen
        Mar 12, 2013 @ 20:23:16

        Wow, I would have thought French would be harder after coming from Italian. I also studied Latin for three years, so perhaps that’s why I find Italian to be rather logical to me 🙂 Why do you think Italian is more difficult for you than French (coming from your perspective)? I know that English takes a lot from French and helps a ton for learning French learning…

      • Yari
        Mar 12, 2013 @ 20:35:58

        Honestly, I think it’s because when I’m practicing Italian, my mind reverts to French. I studied French 8 years ago when I was in high school and it turns out I remember a lot more than I thought. But when I’m studying Italian, it’s like my brain thinks, “Oh you’re looking at a foreign language, you must compare it to the one you studied (french).” Which is just stupid, since I am fluent in Spanish, which is pretty similar to Italian. But for whatever reason, when I’m trying to learn Italian, I always want to compare to French instead of Spanish.

      • Colleen
        Mar 12, 2013 @ 21:05:36

        Well it’s important to consider that you never “learned” Spanish as a foreign language because it’s your second native language. And the first language you learn has a strong impact on you, in terms of vocabularly and grammar structures (it involves “thinking” haha). I’m slowly getting over that block in learning a second foreign language.

  2. Diana
    Mar 12, 2013 @ 20:09:11

    That was so funny in LUSH! And then he awkwardly gave us a basket for our one item…


    • Yari
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 20:31:42

      LOL I forgot that he gave us the basket for the one little container of body wash. You know what wasn’t funny? Them not offering any free samples when you paid for the items. Total BS.


  3. amelie88
    Mar 13, 2013 @ 04:25:48

    Have you decided to do BEDA again? I think I have a friend applying because her 2 year contract with UCETAM expired (which you can only do a max of 2 years).


    • Yari
      Mar 15, 2013 @ 17:19:03

      Right now, I’m of the mindset that I’ll be doing another year. I really like the school that I work at and I’ve been able to establish a good relationship with my students. If they keep me teaching the same grades, I’ll have all of my 1 ESO kids again next year. I’ll really miss my 2 ESO kids from this year though! They’re amazing!!


  4. Dan T Man
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 11:56:17

    Yari: this post provides a very clear window into your world here. Your blog is an invaluable resource for all the future applicants who are probably freaking out as much as we were this time last year. It’s admirable that you have made yourself so approachable to the future generation of expats. Also, the protags pictures are very endearing and make me smile.


    • Yari
      Mar 15, 2013 @ 17:22:32

      Thanks Dan!! I remember what a wreck I was this time last year. I was freaking out that I wouldn’t get BEDA or the ministry. The day I ended up getting my BEDA email saying I was accepted, I ran down the stairs like a madwoman to tell my mom haha
      And, yeah, I love the protags pictures! We should hire Sergio to follow us around like that and take candids haha


  5. Mapless Mike
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 17:11:43

    This is excellent! I will be teaching in Spain in 6 months so this gives me a great idea of what to expect. I know experiences can vary, but this was still very helpful to me. Thank you!!


  6. Jessica
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 17:56:37

    I’d love to hear more about what you do with your classes! I like seeing what others are doing, especially since it seems like each school utilizes their assistants in very different ways.


    • Yari
      Mar 15, 2013 @ 19:21:04

      I’ll try and write something up this weekend since it’s a long weekend here. Plus, I’m sick (again) so I don’t plan on going out much. That’s one of the few cons I find to working at a school…the students constantly get me sick.


  7. Alyssa Rizavi
    Mar 17, 2013 @ 20:14:09

    Hey! I really enjoy reading your blogs about Spain. I have been living there for the past 2 summers so I am pretty familiar with Madrid! I had one question about the BEDA program that you have not mentioned – around when do we find out? I did the Skype interview, but I am not sure when I should hear back. I was told before Easter, but I read somewhere you found out in May! I have been refreshing my email every 5 seconds waiting for a response! Thank you so much!


    • Yari
      Mar 18, 2013 @ 00:46:45

      I doubt you’ll hear anything before Easter. They told us in a recent meeting that they think they’ll be informing people in the first weeks of April. It seems they are a bit ahead of schedule this year compared to last year, so that’s good news for you 🙂


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