Working at a Instituto en Espana!

I  know I’ve been posting about my travels in Spain but I’m actually living in Spain because I am working as an Language and Cultural Language Assistant, also known as an auxiliar. I work 12 hours a week, 4 days  a week at an insituto (ages 12-16, essentially high school). My schedule is different each day but i either start at 8:15 or 9:15. I’m disappointed I work Fridays and its my longest day- I start at 9:15 and end at 2:45pm, considering I only work 1 hour, yes 1 hour on Thursdays in the morning.  So, you see, if I had Fridays off, I would essentially have a 3.75 day weekend. Every week. Also, most auxiliaries work Mon-Thurs, which makes it harder to travel with others.  But on Fridays I have a meeting with many people at the school.

A few days ago the social science teacher, Felix, was mentioning to the Head teacher I wanted to change my schedule from Friday to Monday since Felix has the same classes both days . She smiled and said, you’ll save money. I said, “Pero, estoy en Espana, yo quiro viajar” ( But, I’m in Spain, I want to travel). I assumed this was a very important meeting that I had to attend every Friday, though it had been cancelled twice in the last 2 weeks.

I JUST ASKED my coordinator if there is anyway I can change my schedule from Fridays to Mondays since my social science teacher has the same schedule both fridays and Mondays. HE SAID YES! He’s changing my schedule as I type! I’m so excited! I’m so thankful. He has been very kind and very helpful!

A reminder: ALWAYS ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. Worst case scenario is to be told NO, which just leaves you in the same place you were before asking!

My school is a 40 minute walk each way but thankfully I’ve been coordinating with different teachers for rides each way.

My little classroom

I have 5 conversation classes with 8 students each week where I have free reign to create whatever lessons, activities, or games I want. At first I was unsure about how it would be as most auxiliaries are always with a teacher but I really like the freedom!  I’m one of the few exceptions to be alone with students. I have  5 classes with the Social Sciences teacher usually with 30+students and different levels of English understanding. (I was told it was history and I was really happy assuming I would learn a lot about Spanish history and Spanish perspective…).

My role in the social sciences classes is to read from their workbook in English, then have them read in English and then they translate to Spanish and then I continue. Some days I enjoy it, others I find myself wishing for the time to pass as quick as possible.  Class seems boring to me and I’m not the one sitting behind a desk. They listen, they take turns reading and translating and then again. Same old, same old.

So far, all their lessons have been from a workbook. I’ve only been in the classroom for 3.5 weeks but so far it appears the teacher doesn’t create his own material or talk about real life examples for them to relate to.  I start each class by asking the date and weather in English and occasionally other questions, and then we start reading from the workbook.

When I was in school, when I had to read from textbooks or worksheets a lot didn’t stick with me because it had no real life context. Give me perspective, give me examples, give me context. Talking about the basics of the Developed world vs the Developing world is meaningless in paper without examples is boring. I’ve interjected briefly with a few things but hopefully soon, I’ll find some good teaching materials or activities to bring to my social science classes.

Having internet at my house would make a world of difference! I’m still waiting…


One thought on “Working at a Instituto en Espana!

  1. I love your little classroom. So cute. I hope you can share some of your life experiences with the kids as they learn English too. I’m sure they would love to hear about life in American and about life in general from a worldly 28-year old’s perspective. Like you say, workbooks by themselves are not memorable. I’m certain you are interjecting little tidbits as you go.

    Good job on changing your schedule. Maybe you can share some of your enthusiasm for travel with your students; show photos, etc. of the places you travel to in Spain, sort of a geography lesson thrown in along with the English. I’m just saying. Maybe you will inspire them to see more of their country.


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