I was placed in Kindergarten and Primary. I had classes with P3 all the way up to sixth grade. So, the age range is 3 – 12 years of age. In Kindergarten, I generally assist the class teacher with activities. We mainly focus on exposing the children to English by making use of songs and stories. We keep to the topic that the children are learning about in their other subjects. So, for example if they’re learning about animals, then we will read a story about animals or sing a song related to animals. The teacher and I take turns presenting various activities to the children. I also take small groups out of the class to reinforce new vocabulary by making use of stories, songs and games.
In grades 1-3, I stayed in the classroom with the teacher. We also take turns to present lessons. I must prepare lessons related to the grammar or topic the students are learning about. My role is also to work on phonics and to improve pronunciation. I help with reading.
In fourth to sixth grade, I take small groups out of the class and my main responsibility is to work on conversational English. I must prepare games and other activities that focus on speaking and using the vocabulary the students have learned in class. I also have a time slot for the weaker students. In these periods I am to revise work done in class.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with my host families. I have a good relationship with all of them. They have all been so welcoming and kind and have made me feel very much at home. I have formed a connection with all of them that will last a life time. I have had an open relationship and good communication with all of them.
I went on a trip with my second host family to a small town called Falset in Tarragona where we celebrated the San Antoni festival. I really enjoyed this trip as I got to dress up in traditional Catalonian clothes and took part in the parade that went through the centre of the town. I got to experience the culture and its something a truly enjoyed. I also went on some beautiful hikes with another host family. The views were truly magnificent and something I enjoyed. With my first host family, we had a movie night every Friday. I enjoyed this because it was a special time of bonding with the family.
This was also a very nice dinner because a previous Conversation assistant that stayed with my family came to visit. We had a lovely evening and laughed a lot!
All my host families have also been wonderful. They have all welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I was apart of their family. Communication was good with each of them and we did a lot of things together. I have enjoyed the experience of staying with families as you really get to learn about the culture and people in this way and of course you grow special bonds.
My overall experience has been very good. I love the school that I am in and the people that I work with. From the beginning they have been nothing but supportive and helpful and very welcoming. I enjoy the fact that I work with such a wide age range at the school as I get to prepare different activities and my days are varied. I enjoy teaching the students English and I have learned so much.
Advice for future CAPS Conversation Assistants
Yes, I would say firstly to just do it. In the beginning you may have doubts about leaving home, staying with strange families and afraid of the unknown. Its normal to be stressed and nervous but don’t let that fear hold you back. The only way to conquer it, is to do it and you will see that you grow as a person, learn things about yourself that you never would have if you didn’t do this and you will most certainly meet amazing people along the way. You might enjoy it. You might not. Either way, see it as a learning opportunity and a time of growth.
Secondly, it is all about your outlook and attitude. There will be days when you feel homesick or bad or like you just want to go home. You could either sit at home and mope and feel sorry for yourself or you can make the most of the situation by getting out and enjoying the fact that you have this opportunity.
Thirdly, Communication is key. No one is going to know how you feel if you don’t speak. So, speak to your host family or tutor. They are there to help you. If you not sure about something, ask. Always be open and honest about your plans or what you want to do, and you will have no problems.
Lastly, make the most of this time. It goes so very fast and you only have this one time to enjoy it. Don’t let it slip by by stressing about trivial matters. Live in the moment, meet people, make friends, see as much as you can and never say no!