TEACHER SPOTLIGHT: BRIANNA REYES
TEACH IN SPAIN + 4 WEEKS OF SPANISH IMMERSION
Meet Brianna, one of our Teach in Spain + 4 Weeks of Spanish Immersion participants for the 2017-2018 academic year! Check out what she has to say about her experience as a Language and Culture Assistant in Madrid.
Why did you want to teach English in Spain? What did you hope to learn, gain, and contribute?
I had always known that I wanted to teach abroad, but had never really considered where. One of my coworkers told me about how she had taught English in Spain through CIEE. She absolutely loved the program, and her enthusiasm got me really interested. After doing my research, I knew that the CIEE 4-week immersion program was for me! I would be able to learn Spanish (a longtime goal), live and teach abroad, and add a new experience to my career as an ESL teacher.
Tell us about your daily routine as an English teacher.
I work at an amazing primary school located an hour outside of Madrid city center. Every day I take the bus from Moncloa to Robledo de Chavela at 7:45am. We (there are four auxiliares at our school) arrive to the school around 9:00am. What our typical day looks like in terms of activities and participation varies based on the grade, teacher, and subject. I work with fourth and fifth graders and have a wide variety of responsibilities. In the classroom, I often read aloud to the students, review their workbook activities with them, and play vocabulary games.
Tell us about your host family experience.
My host family was incredible! My host family consisted of my host mom, dad, and brother and their dog Moto. When I wasn’t studying for class, I would hang out on their beautiful balcony. They lived by the river in Madrid, so we had beautiful views and a nice park to visit. My family was so kind and supportive, and living with them really helped improve my Spanish.
What were your Spanish immersion classes like?
The language immersion classes were awesome! Coming into the program, I had a lot of gaps in my knowledge due to the fact that I had only been studying for two months, but the teachers were really good about making things easy to understand. The activities were all hands-on, and the two teachers each had their own style and method for teaching. Overall, the school was in a good, central location, the classes were the perfect size for both discussions and small group activities, and I feel like my Spanish improved significantly within that month.
What is the funniest thing a student said while you were teaching?
Students say hilarious things all the time! Sometimes, students get a little confused switching between languages – for example, when a student told the teacher that a synopsis is when a magician puts you to sleep. When you’re in a school setting, no matter the age group, students are always saying hilarious things!
What advice would you give to an incoming CIEE teacher in Spain?
I think that my biggest piece of advice would be to make the most of your experience here, without jeopardizing your students. I wholeheartedly believe in traveling whenever you can, going out for drinks and tapas with friends, and having the best Spanish experience that you can. That being said, we are here to be auxiliares, work in the schools, and help our students improve their English. Our fun should never get in the way of us being professional and doing the best at our jobs. You should (and can!) live your best life while always remembering to give your students the best that you can.