Who am I?
I’m Nina originally from Brooklyn, New York, currently living and teaching in Madrid.
Let’s get right to it shall we? Teaching is straight up HARD. Teaching in another country? Even HARDER. But there’s good news! With experience, a great library of resources, and a helpful community, it can be easier. And that’s what you will find here…or well, to be honest, that’s what I’m striving for and what I hope to build this site into!
I don’t claim to be an expert at all. In fact, I’ve thought about starting up this blog for my fellow auxilares years ago when I first got to Spain, but the truth is that I didn’t think that I was good enough or knowledgeable enough to create anything useful. But this year…something happened in my school that opened my eyes to how important it is for me to share what I do know, little that it may seem.
Just to fill you in a bit about my story as a teacher, I am currently in my seventh year of teaching. I have served as all types of educators from teacher’s assistant, to lead teacher in a special needs inclusion class, to private tutor (both academic and language), to curriculum developer and of course, auxiliar de conversacion here in Spain. I have also worked in every field of education possible from public, private and charter schools to private academies, tutoring companies and language institutes. While the majority of my experience is in primary school, I did have the pleasure (read: absolute nightmare for me the kindergarten teacher at heart) of teaching secondary school for a year, which was more than enough for me, and I have taught English to adults for several years as well.
Who is this blog for?
Teaching English in Spain as a language assistant in the schools here is a pretty unique experience. Navigating the cultural differences along with the specific role we play and our position’s limitations, is unique to our position. We’re not quite ESL teachers, and we’re not lead teachers. A lot of my posts are going to be about Spain and Spanish classrooms in particular.
That being said, I also hope that this can serve as a resource for all English language teachers around the world, because even though there are cultural differences in education, hopefully you can find something useful to you, whether it’s a classroom strategy or a lesson plan you can adapt.
Oh! Also, as I said, my experience is mainly primary education, so about 90% of what you will find here is going to be for pre-school to primary school. I will do my best to try to help out those of you in secondary school, but feel free to surf around as some posts will be quite general.
What will you find?
Alright, enough rambling. What you really are thinking is what are you going to find here? Here’s a handy-dandy outline.
Activities & Lessons
The juicy stuff. A library of activities and lessons that you can easily use in your classes, whether you want to follow it exactly as is, or use it as a guideline to create your own lesson, these are for you to use as needed.
In this section you will find everything from different lesson planning methods, to classroom management strategies, to how to tie together teaching English vocabulary with academic content. These are more in depth than tips and tricks.
Tips and Tricks
I am a hyper-organized person, and when you are developing activities and teaching a large number of classes, it’s hard to keep everything on track. Here you will find quick tips and tricks to keep yourself organized and create things that last and can be re-used. There are also some more general tips surrounding teaching, like making sure you always have extra activities in case you finish early or what to do when a lesson bombs, because yeah, that happens too.
Pretty straightforward. Here I plan to build a library of great resources available for teachers (yes, I will try to keep them FREE, I know how low that stipend be, trust me). Oh, and while we’re here, let’s just get right to the heart of the matter, GO GET ON PINTEREST. You can follow me here, where I have great pins organized by theme. Pinterest is a teacher’s best, best friend.
Did I mention I’ve also been blogging for the past twelve years? I am obsessed with blogging. And while there are so many fantastic blogs out there about what it’s like to live in Spain (shameless plug, check out my travel blog Nina’s Sweet Adventures), I haven’t yet found any about what it’s like to actually teach in Spain. You know, like dealing with blackface on Three King’s Day, or how to manage our role as an English assistant, or how to work with the Spanish teachers. Our role is so unique in the English teaching world and that means there are certain challenges that some other English teachers don’t necessarily face. So here you will find stories from my experience in my schools, as well as general thoughts about our roles as assistants and I hope that you will feel comfortable enough to share your experiences too.
That about sums it up. I hope you find whatever it is that you need, or something helpful you weren’t expecting to find!