A typical week as an English Language Assistant

I have been working as an English Language Assistant for about a month now, and I think that I am starting to finally get into a routine.  I am contracted to work 12 hours a week Tuesday to Saturday. For the moment I have been place in 4 first year classes (ages 13-15), the classes divided in two schools. The first school focuses on more general subjects and tourism whereas the other school is more specialized teaching subjects such as geometry, architecture and law. Luckily the schools aren’t too far from each other by car, but walking would take 15 minutes which means I would be late for class when I have both schools one after another.

Mondays

Monday is my day off. I class it as part of my weekend as I work on Saturdays. I usually use this day to prepare myself for the next working week, like making some lesson plans or marking some work. I know that it’s not in my job description to mark student’s work, but I actually quite enjoy reading my student’s work! Monday’s is the day I also do my weekly shop at the local supermarket, things I take for granted at uni with ASDA deliveries!

Tuesday

Tuesdays I have a full day which for me is great, least I don’t have to wait around for my classes to start. I find that the day goes much quicker when I have a busy day. Class starts at 8 where I am in the specialized school, a class of 30 students all boys apart from 3 girls. Although they might be a bit livelier than the other classes I like that. At least I can always rely on someone to talk, rather than it being painful experience forcing someone to talk to me! In this class I am used mostly for pronunciation and dialogue so I correct the student’s pronunciation and make them repeat after me. I’m not used to this much responsibility. For those who know me, I don’t have the most ‘posh’ Southern English accent, and it’s more Northern or ‘common’, thankfully my students or teachers don’t know this. By the end of the year, I’ll have my classes speaking in a broad Northern accent, just joking! After this hour I am straight in the other school for three straight hours in the hour first year classes. The first class I have is so cute, they always seem so pleased to see me and always want to talk, so that makes my job much easier. In this class I am more involved with the work they are doing and me and the teacher share the teaching duties. The next class, is a Tourism one and it’s guaranteed that the first thing they’ll ask me when they see me is if the other English teacher here. Since, this particular English teacher had been in England for the first of month of school, they had gotten used to taking the class alone. Challenging but fun at the same time. Now that the teacher has arrived from England, I have had to take a step back, as on the grammar side of things there’s a bit of catching up to do, since I focused on dialogue, vocab, reading and writing the first few weeks. The last class is different from the rest, although the students have the same ages as the other students in the other classes I teach they seem a little older, and I have to think more when I am making lesson plans, as something that the other classes might find fun this one might not. I think it depends on the kind of people in the classes. I finish 12, with the afternoons to do whatever I want! This is a perfect day at work.

Wednesday

Wednesdays I only work 2 hours. However, I start at 11 and finish at 1. So the day is a bit of a drag if I get a lift into work at 8 and have to wait 3 hours for my classes to begin. I usually pass the time in the staff room, doing some marking, I know that later in the year I will probably be busy doing uni work, just trying to ignore this fact for now though with the excuse that ‘I’m still settling in’ haha.

Thursday

Again 2 hours of work today, but this time in both schools. This means I have to find a way of getting to from one to school to the other, which sometimes proves difficult! I start later again at 10 but finish at 12 again with plenty of time to do what I want in the afternoon.

Friday

Easy day. Just an hour at 11, then I go home. Just wish it was at 8 so I wouldn’t spend all day waiting for that one class!

Saturday

Usually excited by Saturday as the weekend is here! I have 3 hours from 8-12 which one hour free. I can handle the one hour gap because I can usually keep myself busy with something; it’s the gaps of longer than one hour that I don’t like! Sometimes I feel like I live in the staff room, but since transport to and from school is difficult I can’t complain.

So 5 days a week I have at least on class a day, although it would have been easier and better for me if the hours were placed in 3 consecutive days, I can’t complain at least I get Mondays off, which is something that some teachers don’t get. There are always long discussions in the staff rooms, of teachers who are unhappy with their timetables. Although this might not be what I want to do as a future career I am glad I am getting to experience this, I love how everyday is different and how you can have fun with the students. It is true what they say, it is really rewarding when you realise that you are helping students learn something new everyday.

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