My second year at IES San Clemente is already coming to an end. It's been a very rewarding year, and I feel that I began the year much better prepared to bring effective English-learning techniques to the classroom. I worked with mostly the same teachers, and was therefore familiar with classroom structure and how to best adapt activities for each teacher's schedules.
One benefit this year was that I had two classes per week with my first-year students from last year. Already being familiar with these students was a huge benefit, and helped me jump right into the school year without any shy introductory periods. I'm very proud of the progress they've made and the interest they showed in not only practicing English, but also in maintaining their English skills in the future (with English certification exams, internships abroad, etc.).
I began this year with a new approach: I brought an arsenal of English-language conversation games with me from the United States (such as Apples to Apples, the Game of Things, and Catchphrase). These games provided a natural icebreaker (especially in my new first-year classes) and helped the students eagerly engage in English practice. Since almost all of the students have learned the foundation of English grammar rules, I've found that the best way to reinforce those rules is by fostering natural discussion whenever possible. These conversation games have proven to be wildly successful in encouraging the students to speak in English not only with me, but also with each other. I also find them useful because it helps them learn more natural, colloquial English spoken in everyday situations.
I resumed teaching separate conversation classes during the third trimester this year, and have been very happy with how they've gone. Each class has eager students that show up each week ready to practice English and learn what they can.
I'm incredibly pleased with how this year has gone. I feel that I've grown in my own abilities as a language assistant, and I'm very proud of how engaged the students were.