November 8th was the last day at my previous school. Now that I have moved I can tell you the name of my former town 🙂 The 2 months I spent in Madridejos were great and I was really sad to move on.
Well what happened? Why are you changing BEDA Schools?
Based on the BEDA guidelines my school followed their own method of implementing the program which requires an “extracurricular” teacher not and “auxiliary“. My schedule during my final days ranged from classes 8:15am to 7:15 pm.
As a non-EU citizen in the program these hours go against my visa and on TOP OF THAT I was teaching all my classes (except infantil) alone. It was as if I was a full-time salaried teacher at the school. Since the first day of orientation before I even started classes I was told by BEDA that this schedule isn’t allowed and that they will contact the school.
What ensued was 2 months of emails, phones calls (me to BEDA), dodged phone calls (BEDA to school coordinator) and an excellent lesson regarding working with Spaniards.
On Halloween Day I was able to take the day off from school to head up to Madrid to pick up my TIE. I also had an appointment at a lab to do a test for my Peace Corps application (that’s a whole other headache I’ve been dealing with here…another lesson re:working with Spaniards…and yes I am thankful for all these lessons! ^_^).
Later in the day I spoke with the BEDA coordinator about her telephone call to the school. She explained that the school wasn’t going to budge on the way they ran the program and unfortunately she didn’t appreciate the way the coordinator spoke to her. So it was decided that it was best to change school.
——>I decided what was BEST FOR ME!
Now don’t get me wrong, I wanted the issue to be rectified earlier on before growing attached to the students and had hoped that we could reach an agreement.
But nope. NOTHING. Nada.
During my final weeks at the school I was so stressed out. Planning 20 new lessons every week, working until 7pm and dealing with behavior issues was starting to take it’s toll. I was hardly eating or sleeping. I lost a ton of weight in those two months. My face broke out in the worst acne I’ve ever experienced in my life. I even got sick the week prior to Halloween and lost my voice for three days and broke out in hives. #hotmess
My apartment, though nice, was very uncomfortable. The walls were so thin (something I am learning is a problem here) that I could hear everything happening above, below and around me. AND my bedroom window was next to a bar.
SLEEP?——-> “What means sleep?”
I resorted to using my earbuds courtesy of Virgin Airlines as well as keeping my humidifier on all night. The whisper from the running motor sort of helped to drown out the bar banter.
Looking back I definitely should have put my foot down sooner. Instead I just waited for the “emails’ and “phone” calls to work out. I’ve had a ton of time to reflect since moving and comparing this experience to South Korea.
One question I posed earlier on to the BEDA coordinator was about the communication between the program and the schools outside Madrid.
If you ask me it really seems like we get the shit end of the deal. You basically are living on a hope and a prayer that the school actually understands how to utilize the auxiliary and doesn’t take advantage of your existence. We also don’t even get the opportunity to take the classes at the Madrid University campus and share classroom experiences with the other auxiliaries. Instead we take an online TKT course with is similar to a TEFL/TESOL. I spent $1500 for my TESOL course and it pisses me off every time I think about this TKT class. And there was no real orientation in the beginning similar to EPIK, CIEE or other programs.
Recently they’ve been setting up SKYPE calls to check in with those placed outside Madrid. I hope many people have taken advantage of this because I am tired of hearing/reading about other auxiliaries that are in problem schools but haven’t addressed it with the program.
Please don’t get discouraged if you are applying to the program and read this post. The BEDA coordinators are very really helpful and try to solve any problems brought to their attention.
But the program is still fairly new and they are still working to the kinks 🙂
I am really happy in my new town. It is a lot bigger with about 50,000 people (Madridejos has 11,000) and the staff at the school are really lovely to work with.
Secretly I am counting down to summer vacation but that is not to say I am having a bad experience. I just know that maybe its time to move on from this ESL world. After all I am seven months away from my 30th birthday and I have new career goal aspirations:)
If you have any questions about applying to BEDA or the ministry programs please feel free to leave a comment below!
“What’s for you won’t pass you by!”- ^_^