My Second Family

Name of Volunteer Speaker

David O Grady



Name of town/city where school is located


Experience in school including tasks, classes, relationship with students/teachers

My experience with the school has been extremely positive, especially with the primary school children. I have been preparing lessons for 4th, 5th and 6th grade every week going through groups of 3 or 4 students for 15 minutes. I have been able to interact with them efficiently and feel like every student as been participating in the lessons; adding an element of fun into the lessons really increased my relationship and respect with all the students. The high school part has been a slow start, mainly because I was told I was going to be teaching them IT but instead having conversation about many topics with them. The high school teaching only takes up a small number of my hours but I am working with the teachers to ensure more students engage in the conversation because a few of them are not interested. Overall, I get on brilliant with the teachers, have many chats, great lunches and coffees with an element of language exchange too. My lesson plans consist of a vocabulary section with pictures and key words, making sure students elicit and memorise new information, then getting them to do a short exercise the end of the lesson.

Experience living with your Host Family. Have they made you feel welcome, relationship, activities, etc…

There is nothing I can fault about the host family, they have provided me excellent meals, hospitality, great company, family trips and very understanding if I need anything. They also don’t mind if I want to do things independently lack the teacher meetups which is brilliant and would recommend any teacher to come to stay with my family. The kids are so brilliant and personally I haven’t been treated as an au pair as they are very independent but I also love to spend time with them, be it watching football or playing games.

Your general experience whilst on the program from prior expectations to your current experience

My experience with the program has been very positive and I didn’t expect it to go aswell as it did. The initial struggles were there and there are days that I find tough but then there is special moments with the school, family and friends that I was cherish forever.

Changes/Improvements in both personal and professional development

I have grown in confidence, breaking out of my hard introverted IT background shell and feeling good about myself, especially all the kids shouting my name in the school, it really is heartwarming.

Advice for the any new/future Voluntary Speakers placed in your town/city (best places to visit, things to do, activities with host family, favourite restaurant, bar, etc.…)

I would always advice to ask many questions and concerns before coming here with your teachers and the family. If you are 100% not good with people then I would not recommend it to them because it is really important that you are friendly and approachable by everyone even if you are having a bad day. For me, I am normally good with people but in a school setting this was my biggest challenge to put myself out of my comfort zone.

Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers placed in your school?

Make sure to have tea/coffee with your teachers after lunch time because you will form new friendships and earn their respect too. Make sure to at least prepare 1 lesson plan per week to ensure that if you run into the same students again you will have new material for them. I would also recommend to bring a kettle because here people don’t use them, bring some tea bags and you’ll save more money!

Advice for new/future Voluntary Speakers in relation to living with your host family or Spanish families in general

When living with your host family always be respectful for the food you are given and if you don’t like a certain type then feel free to express your feelings. They eat late here from 8 to 9pm so just make sure to be on time for the meal because the parents have put effort into preparing it and always make sure to make an effort to speak english at the dinner table.

Share some of the best moments in your school, host family and in general whilst participating on the program

When I see the kids in the school giving you smiles, waves, hugs and chanting your name; you know that you’ve given them a good english lesson when they are happy to see you. As Chris says, they will never forget you.

Any regrets joining? Would you recommend the program to others? and what would you say to someone thinking about teaching English abroad for the first time and thinking about joining this program?

I have no regrets, although I wish I did this sooner but I don’t think such an opportunity existed expect some expensive placements that you see online.

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