Working as an English teaching assistant (auxiliar) in a bilingual high school in Spain has been an interesting experience. I’ve been lucky enough to have “my classroom” and 5 classes of conversation each week with groups of 8 students at a time. Though this is against the rules by Spain’s Ministry of Education- auxiliars are assistants; a teacher is supposed to always be present, my school decided small groups isn’t a big deal. I’m thankful and realize my 2 years as a garden teacher has trained me well!
Each group comes once every 2 weeks, so I have the opportunity to “try” the same activity with each class. I love the surprise. What goes well in one class, sometimes falls flat in another class. I never know how it’s going to go. Often, classes whom I think are going to get really involved and like the activity, don’t and classes whom I’m unsure of, (aka, my 1st years, 12-13 year olds) often surprise me, in a positive way!
For the last 2 weeks we’ve done an activity called, In the Teacher’s Shoes. I briefly explain the activity, mentioning they will have the opportunity to be the teacher for the day but deliberately leave out the details. I tell them to get out paper, pen/pencil and write 4 interview questions for me (questions that will start conversation, and YES, they have to be appropriate to ask and to discuss at school). Yes, I realize this could be opening a can of worms but the biggest question students have asked is “Do you have a boyfriend?”
After they write their questions, I ask, “Who wants to be a teacher?” This is where I’m surprised. In some classes, every student raises their hand and in others; no one.
The “new teacher” has to pretend they are ME. They call on student’s to ask a one of their questions they wrote down that they assumed I would answer. Some students really take on the “role of teacher” and others feel uncomfortable speaking in English in front of their peers and can’t get over the idea, they have to pretend they are me. It’s been interesting to see the responses.
The funniest has been (in two of my classes, when boys were the teachers), a girl asked, ” Do you have a boyfriend”
The “teacher” answered without hesitation, “I don’t in Spain but I do in California (How did he know?). When she stated, “Tell me more,” he responded, “He has blonde hair and is very tall.” A student chimes in, “He’s like hulk.” (Oh really...)
In every class these questions have been asked:
What is your favorite food in Spain?
Do you like Spain or California better?
What is your favorite place in California?
What is your favorite singer?
What are some activities that have gone really well? What are funny or interesting things you didn’t expect in your classes?If you try this activity, I’d love to hear how it goes?
Please comment below. Thanks.