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Featuring Ellie Haizlett '11
Ellie Haizlett
Position: English Language & Culture Assistant
School: The Community of Madrid, Spain
Location: Meco, Spain
(Profiled: November 2011)

♦  How did you connect with this job opportunity?
♦  What attracted you to this position?
♦  What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
♦  What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
♦  How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
♦  What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
♦  What job search tips would you give to GCC students?
♦  What are the challenges and rewards of teaching in another culture?
♦  What are the challenges and rewards of living in another culture?

How did you connect with this job opportunity?
My second cousin is an alum of the program and recommended I apply.

What attracted you to this position?
The flexibility of the job (lots of free time to travel, take classes, and experience the culture).

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
Building relationships with Spaniards and learning from their culture and language. It is also rewarding to see the students and teachers improve their English and to be able to share about the U.S.

What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
It was a challenge learning to be an efficient and helpful co-teacher/assistant rather than the head teacher. Communicating with the Spanish teachers about my role in the classroom can be confusing.

How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
Student teaching helped me to practice my classroom management skills and plan practical lessons.

What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
Travel and learn from different cultures because students light up when you share about life outside of their daily routine.

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?
Start early and schedule appointments with Mrs. Snyder. I spent hours and hours researching teaching abroad opportunities, and I don’t regret any of my effort.

Ellie's suggestions for the auxiliar program in Spain:
♦  Start the application early (around December) so you have a higher likelihood of getting your first choice.
 Don't be discouraged by the online application; it's quite confusing, but worth it!  The screening process is very, very small...the hard part is just accurately completing the application because it's in Spanish.
♦  Apply for your visa the moment you get your placement and keep all the documents.  The paperwork involved is the most frustrating part of the process.


What are the challenges and rewards of teaching in another culture?  
♦  Challenges—It takes a lot of energy and time to go through the paperwork and logistics of working oversees. It is also difficult to get settled the first month if you don’t have people to help you find a place to live and give you guidance with ordinary life.
♦  Rewards—Exploring the many different ways people learn and adopting new methods to your American teaching style.

What are the challenges and rewards of living in another culture?
♦  Challenges—It takes considerable energy every day just to communicate in a different language and understand the culture. You must have an adventurous spirit and be willing to take risks and meet people.
♦  Rewards—Traveling to new places, broadening your world view, meeting other international expatriates, and trying new hobbies (for example, I am taking a flamenco dance class and working as an au pair for a Spanish family).
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PH: (724) 458-3397 |
2010 Education Career Services
Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: August 2014