Alexandra Parks, our language assistant (interview)

Her name is Alexandra Parks, but many people call her by her nickname “Alex.” She is 25 years old and was born and raised in a city ininterview 09.JPG northern California called Chico. She moved to Ashland, Oregon for university, where she studied English and Spanish literature.

Good morning Alex.

Good morning Elisa.

Where have you previously worked?

Last year I worked at a preschool teaching 3-5 year olds from low-income families.

What does your work at Romareda consist of?

As a language assistant it is my job to support the English teachers at Romareda with whatever they might need. I prepare presentations, activities and games for the kids to do based on what they are studying.

What classes do you teach?

I do lessons in the preschool and in first grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, and sixth grade of primary.

How did you get the idea to work as a language assistant?

I studied abroad in Granada, Spain for nine months during university and since then I have always wanted to come back to Spain because I love the language and culture here. I also wanted to try teaching kids of different ages, so I thought that this program would be perfect for me!

What did you have to do to be a language assistant?

I had to write two essays, submit a letter of recommendation, do a background check, get a doctor’s note of good health, and apply for a visa to work and live in Spain.

What characteristics does a language assistant need?

I think, a language assistant needs to be patient, flexible, have a good understanding of both English and Spanish grammar, and enjoy teaching and working with kids.

How would you rate the level of English of the kids at this school?

The kids at Romareda, in general, have a very good understanding of English.

What do you believe is the most difficult for a Spaniard about learning English? Why?

mmmm… I think that one of the most difficult things for Spaniards when it comes to learning English is that there are many more vowel sounds and consonant combinations in English than there are in Spanish. For this reason, many English words are pronounced differently than they are spelled, which can be confusing for some students. In English we also have many words and phrases which mean the same thing.

What do you like the most about your job? What do you like the least?

I really like the variety of the job and that I get to be creative and work with kids of different ages. The part I like least is probably having to plan lessons for so many different classes.

What are the main differences that you have found between the United States and Spain?

I have found that there are many differences between the United States and Spain. For instance, the work, school, and eating schedules are very different. When I went to primary school, for example, we had one hour for lunch and everyone stayed at the school to eat. Here kids have three hours for lunch and some of them go home during this time.

What do you like most about our country? What has most caught your attention?

I really like that Spaniards are, in general, very nice and friendly. It always surprises me that there are always people socializing and in the streets in the evenings.

What do you miss the most from the United States?

I miss my friends and family and our dog!

How about your level of Spanish?

I think that I have a fairly good level of Spanish. I can understand almost everything when it comes to reading and listening in Spanish, but (as my students could probably tell you) speaking is the most difficult for me.

When you finish the school year, what are you plans for the future?

I plan to be a language assistant again next year but in a different part of Spain.

Thank you very much for agreeing to grant this interview and especially for your dedication in this school. We are very happy to have you here with us.

Photos here!!!

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