Life as a Language Assistant as Told Through GIF’s

I’ve had a bit of blogger’s block recently as I’ve settled into my new routine. Nothing big has happened, nothing monumental has come along to turn my world upside down, which may be the biggest reason why words just haven’t come to me. My life has been a whirl-wind up until this point, with a big event or a big announcement around every corner. Writing is easy when you have something big to discuss.

Whenever something cool happened I was all:

But now I’m all like:

 

I think I can now safely assume that this period of time where all of these exciting things happen is over for the time being, and I’ve found the new normal. “THE NEW NORMAL?! What is wrong with you, you live in Europe.. How is that even remotely normal?!” is what I’m hearing? That’s right, there is such a thing as “normal” here too. Once you settle into a routine, things stop wow-ing you or making you look twice like they did when you first get here, and they just become…. well… normal.

The 8000th time you hear, “Attención: estación en curva. Al salir, tengan cuidado para no introducir el pie entre coche y andén” on the metro:

 

Now this may come as a surprise to some of you, but my living here for 10 months is not one big vacation, like I’ve heard people insinuate. I don’t wake up super early because I want to, but because I have to. I don’t eat out every night at some awesome restaurant, nor do I get the opportunity to try something completely new everyday. I can’t jet off or hop on a train on a random Tuesday, nor can I even do this every weekend. There are limits to everything you do no matter what continent you are on, and these limits are called time and money.

Yes, it does.

So since as of now I don’t have any big news to share with you, i thought I might outline what my life is like on a day-to-day basis, a question I actually get quite regularly:

Commute:

Almost everyday I need to be at school starting at 9am. So I wake up at 7, get ready, pack my lunch (to save money- I can eat at school for 4 euro a day), then dash out the door at 7:55. I live across the street from my metro station, so I walk (okay, i full-out run because I never wake up early enough to give myself extra time) to the station, and get on my 8:00 metro towards my bus station.

5 stops and 10 minutes later, I arrive at my metro stop/bus station, and walk to my bus (okay, run to my bus) which leaves at 8:15 for my school and is a 45 minute ride. I read, text Ryan (Good night!/Good morning!), and eat breakfast while people stare at me in awe over how I am possibly eating on public transportation (Apparently “eating on the go” is not a thing here..). I arrive at my school at 8:55, and walk into my first class.

People’s reaction to me eating on the bus:

My reaction:

thuglife

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School:

Each class ranges from 50 minutes to 1 hour. I teach 3 different types of classes- Art, Music, and PE. I feel exceptionally fortunate, because many assistants have to teach very complex science or English classes, and many have to create lesson plans. I have to do none of this. The head teacher, whoever it may be, tells me what we are doing in the class, I explain the directions in English, then walk around the class and get the kiddos to talk to me in English. Some classes, I basically run the class, while others I sit in the back and wait for the teacher to ask for my help. Depending on the class and the teacher, getting the kiddos to speak  can be like pulling teeth, while other times I can’t get them to be quiet!

But mostly, this is how my day goes (Thanks to “What should we call Auxiliares Tumblr):

 

Every single second of the day:

image

 

When one of the bratty kids argues with me over what he supposed to be doing right now, and I win the argument:

 

When god forbid, the head teacher steps out the classroom before you can object:

 

Every single one of my art classes:

image

 

When I raise my voice and one of the kids knows they did something bad, they look at me like:

image

 

How I feel the first period of the day.. and the last:

image

 

When I am asked to explain something written in British English:

image

 

My reaction every time the teacher starts shaming a child:

image

 

Oh, the joys of being an assistant.

Some classes, namely PE, I leave the class with a smile on my face. Other classes, mostly art class, I just want to go curl in a ball and cry after the class (This also maybe due to the fact that the teacher literally sits in the back of the room and says “go”).

It also depends on the age levels. I teach 1st graders to 6th graders. I have learned that I really enjoy teaching the older ones better, because their level is higher, and it is also easy to find things to talk about that interest them. One student even asked me if I watched “How I Met Your Mother”.. I’m still not sure if this show is of an appropriate level for a 6th grader, but hey! We talked about his favorite characters on the show and such, and it turned out to be fine.

1st graders are my most tiring of the classes. It is so difficult getting through to them in Spanish, let alone in English that I literally just want to go to sleep after these classes. Luckily, I only have 3 class periods with them.

How I feel walking out of a class of 1st graders:

 

After 2 class periods, there is a break for 30 minutes. One or twice per week, I am on “break duty” where I go and monitor the playground full of screaming kids. It is pretty entertaining watching them play soccer or just be silly. It is also kind of awesome, because some parent always lets their kid bring a HUGE box of assorted cookies and chocolate with which they run around the playground to every teacher on duty and every friend letting them choose the candy of their choice.

2 more class periods, and then it is lunch time. Thanks to the Spanish siesta, lunch is an hour and a half long. This leaves me plenty of time to eat lunch in the lunch room, take advantage of the bread, salad, and fruit they leave in the teacher’s lunch room, and finally read a book and take a nap. Finally, there are 2 more class periods before it is time to go home, at 4:30pm. Although I really like my long breaks, I would have much rathered to get out much earlier and steamroll through the day, but hey. Not my school, not my rules!

 

Commute home

So my bus home is somewhat of a different story than my bus ride to school. For some reason, I have the exact same miserable, vendetta-against-life bus driver everyday of my life. At first I thought It was only me he hated, but the more I have observed, the more I realizes he hates everyone he encounters equally.

I’m all like:

 

And he’s all:

and

and also

Since my afternoon bus driver stories are endless, I’ll only tell you a couple. One time, he kicked me off the bus for having a 10 euro bill and 2.50 in change. The bus was 2.60. I told him to take the whole 10 and he replied with “get off my bus”. Another time, I was 10 paces behind the last person who got on the bus, and he closed the door and started to leave me before everyone on the inside of the bus protested. Another time, when he was pulling up to the stop, all of the sudden the bus sign changed to say it was bus 12, not 13. I didn’t wave it down so the bus didn’t stop, and I didn’t realize it was bus 13 until it changed back after he passed up the stop. I thought my eyes were deceiving me. They were most definitely not, because I asked the person next to me and he confirmed. My last story I will tell was today, when a little old lady with a cane and a hunchback was taking a minute or so to get off the bus, he closed the doors on her as she was walking down the steps of the bus. When everyone started to protest, he shouted the equivalent of “well let’s go then, woman!!” I’m not exaggerating when I say this man has a vendetta against life.

It has actually become a source of humor for me, as you never know what terrible thing he will do next.

Home

When I get home:

image

the first thing I do is crash back into my bed for a quick nap.

After, I try to find some sort of excuse to go explore the city. Sometimes it is to go to Retiro Park to read, other times it’s to window shop down Fuencarral. On days I feel really energized I’ll hit a museum during its free hours. Other times, usually when I feel a bit homesick I will meet some friends for cheap drinks and tapas. And then there are the days where I just want to curl up and watch TV shows until the sun goes down. Sometimes I feel guilty because I’m in Europe and sitting in my apartment, but there are somedays where a girl just needs to paint her nails, shave her legs, put on her sweatpants and watch grey’s anatomy. Even in Spain. 

Weekends

By the end of the week after 5 days of screaming children, this is how I feel:

 

As you know, at the moment, I am extremely broke. Although I have picked up a private lesson here or there, it still does not lessen the fact that the amount we get for our paycheck puts us at broke college-kid status. I would pick up more private lessons, but frankly, after dealing with kids all the day, the last thing you want to do is go teach more kids. But it is a good feeling knowing you can get them at the drop of a hat.

 

This being said, until I get my first real paycheck on Oct. 31st, I don’t have much choice but to stay put in Madrid. I’m not complaining though, because you literally can’t run out of things to do in this city. There is always a market or some special event being put on, and if not, friends are always up for something. My typical weekend is the following:

Friday– get home from school and catch up on sleep by taking the longest nap in the world. Then, meet up with friends for a dinner and drinks. TGIF!

After, it is time to either go out all night, or go home and sleep all night. The pick is made depending on my mood.

Saturday– If I’ve been out all night, it is sleep time until the afternoon! If I slept all night, it’s time to get up to go explore Madrid! Usually, I start off on my own, go shopping for essentials, groceries, or anything else I might need, then meet up with friends that evening for some drinks, tapas, or some other shenanigans. This is on the days that we don’t find a cool day trip outside of Madrid to go on.

Sunday– SUNDAY FUNDAY! Best day of my week by far. If you have read some of my other posts, you know that Madrid does Sunday’s right. There is always some great market going on, and if there isn’t, then the Rastro Market is every week. Also our group of friends here have started a sunday funday brunch tradition. We find a great place to go eat the biggest brunch of our lives, drink mimosas, and continue to make our way around madrid running into anything cool we can find.

Every Sunday for me:

image

 

So I know this isn’t the most exciting update you’ve received, but I do hope it helped you understand a little more about my everyday life. Some days, I think I could do this until I die, while others I just call home to listen to familiar voices and put it all into perspective.  No matter what gets thrown my way- the good, the bad, or the boring- I just keep taking my dad’s advice and think of it all as part of my learning experience. No matter what happens, I will come home with more experience than I left, and hopefully some funny stories too!

Later y’all!

4 thoughts on “Life as a Language Assistant as Told Through GIF’s

  1. I died when I read the mention of “Estación en curva…” My friend and co-auxiliar actually saw someone introducir su pie entre coche y andén the other day, and we were like “Okay, THAT’S why they have to say it all the time. (Apparently this women completely ate it and dropped a bunch of the fruit she was carrying. Which was sad yet hilarious all at once.) But still, there must be a faster way to get that message across.

    On a more serious note, I completely agree with you about the feeling of normalcy. Things take on a routine no matter where you live, and while it’s exciting to be in Spain, it can also be downright exhausting. I had a really crabby day yesterday for no reason at all (except that my teachers don’t discipline the classes and every day is exhausting, but that’s normal too.) That said, though, feeling like things are normal also means you’ve adjusted to your surroundings. I think we can feel proud of that one!

    • Oh gosh I’m really glad I didn’t see that happen because I would have given the complete wrong reaction!!! haha. i like your positive attitude about the adjusting to your surroundings.. i think you might be onto something! I think the teachers not disciplining the class is definitely the reason i come home exhausted 9 times out of 10.. this week I have made it a point to take a deep breath and let it all go, and surprisingly my week has been much less stressful. thanks for the input!

  2. deette731@gmail.com says:

    Maury:

    We are so excited to receive your “updating” of “Life as a Language Assistant”! Oh, that all those Spanish kids could have a classroom with as beautiful and loving a presence as you to help them!!

    These experiences …..good, bad, and topsy-turvy….are yours forever. I could use a quote from Wordsworth….”they flash upon that inward eye, which is the bliss of solitude”…(of course he was talking about daffodils)!

    LOVE…..keep writing and know that I am thinking of you……..

    Grandmother

    Grandmother

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