October 2016 – First Month of School!

Contrary to popular belief (i.e., if you’ve only read my most recent blog posts and looked at my recent Facebook photos), I am actually teaching here in Spain! I wanted to provide a quick recap of what life is like working at IES Villablanca.

IES stands for Instituto de Educación Secundaria, which essentially means a combined middle and high school. IES Villablanca is a bilingual school. This means different things for kids of different ages, but essentially between 1-4 hours of class per day have to be taught in English.

And that’s where us auxiliars come in handy! I’m one of six English language and culture assistants at IES Villablanca – four of us (Carol, Jake, Scott and I) are from the US, Georgie’s from England, and Leila is from Ireland. While we never work in the same classroom together, we do take our breaks and spend our free periods in the teacher’s lounge together and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know them better.

My schedule is a bit unique in that I’m working on an A/B week rotation. During A weeks, I help out with 5 music classes and 11 physical education classes. During B weeks, I still have the same 5 music classes, but I also have 5 prep periods and 6 periods where I’m teaching English literature and history.

In terms of the work itself, it varies greatly. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been asked to talk about Harvard, life in America and growing up in Boston. I’ve also been tasked with teaching a workshop on Greek dancing as well as explaining in detail the different parts of the ear and how one perceives sound. This is precisely what I enjoy, though – the fact that no two days are the same at IES Villablanca.

I’m working with six different teachers and it’s been very interesting to see their unique teaching styles and ways in which they interact with and discipline the children. I’ve also gotten closer to the kids as I spend more time with them. One physical education class already knows my love for Beyoncé, and many students will say hi to me by name in the hallways, which just makes my day. In fact, one student saw me in the metro station near school and ran all the way down the up escalator to say hi to me and tell me about his day.

TGT: I’ve been keeping a journal recently, marking down Three Good Things for each day, so over the past month, some TGTs include:

1) Going on a wonderful hike on the outskirts of Madrid with Jenna and HikingMadrid 2) Having really wonderful and in-depth conversations with my flat-mates about a variety of topics 3) Running in my first race (a 10k, up and down one of the main streets of Madrid!)

Hasta pronto,



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