My name is Jose Colchado and I am a retired public school teacher, and university professor and administrator. I have over thirty years of education related experience and have taught at every grade level from kindergarten to post graduate.
Even through I am retired I have continued to be involved in teaching; as a substitute teacher, GED instructor, and conducting workshops.
I applied for the CIEE Teaching in Spain for two reasons; CIEE was the most responsive to my questions and provided guidance at all steps of the application process and I wanted a program in Spain where I could learn more about the country which had such a great influence on Mexico, my parents' home country. The application process can be difficult and will cost you money. For example, I had to go to California for the consulate "interview" which turned out to be just handing over my application papers. Once you get to Spain CIEE provides the support you need to finalize additional paperwork, assist with housing hunts and arranging for low cost daily transportation.
I asked to work with first and second graders and was assigned to the Colegio de San Blas in Ajalvir a suburb of Madrid ( a 30 minute train ride from Madrid ). I live in Torrejon de Ardoz a 15 minute bus ride from Ajalvir. I am glad I live and work in the suburbs. No long daily commute and still close enough to everything. I was surprised by two things at my school; the noise level and , what was to me, a lack of discipline, that takes away from instruction, and how little effort was made to make me feel welcome and part of the school ( it could have been me!). Because I am not the teacher "in charge" I get to teach without the responsibility for grading or other paperwork. The kids are great, just like first and second graders everywhere, eager to learn and willing to do whatever you ask them. I am able to incorporate movement and art in active learning to support the teaching by the teacher.
Teaching four days a week gives me plenty of time to travel, During four day weekends I have been to Valencia, Toledo, Cadiz, Austurias, Guadalajara, Seville and during holidays I went to Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Lisbon and I plan to go to Brussells and nearby cities and the Canary Islands. Bus, train and air travel is very inexpensive if you buy your tickets early. Housing during your travels can be cheap if all you need is a bed and a bath. In most cities, once you get to the city center, you can walk to most of the sites worth seeing. What an opportunity to travel throughout Europe!
Even though I have my own apartment, I live frugally and with my stipend I am able to meet my living expenses and have some money for travel ( I do supplement my travel with a small part of my retirement income).
There is so much to see and do. So much to learn. It all depends on what your priorities are and how you choose to spend your time and money!