Dear Fellow Auxiliares de Conversación:

Could you all leave a comment below stating what grade(s) you are assigned and what you are expected to do during your time with them? For example, are you just aiding the teacher teach their lesson or are you expected to teach lessons with the supervision of the main teacher? And if you are a former auxiliar de conversación, tell me what what age group you had and the types of things you did in the classroom.

It seems that there is a large discrepancy between schools regarding what the auxiliares de conversación are expected to do and I was trying to get a feel for what the majority seem to have.

I had to email the BEDA coordinator today because I found it weird that my school expects me to be alone with my students starting in October and teach them my own plans. After looking at my contract with BEDA, I noticed that it said the teacher should be with us at all times. The coordinator responded to my email saying that I am, in fact, NEVER to be left alone with the students and that she is going to call the school tomorrow to sort it all out. She didn’t address my other question, however, which is me teaching the students lessons of my own making. The school said it can be related to the subject (i.e. History/Geography) or be pretty much exactly what the students are learning, but in English. I guess I never expected to be actually teaching at my school since BEDA doesn’t require any education background in order to be in the program. I assumed that I would just be a teacher’s aide, which is, obviously, not the same thing as a teacher.

We’ll see what my schools says after the coordinator speaks with them. I, at least, feel better knowing that even if I do have to teach, the teacher must be there with me. Even though, today was my first day in the classroom with my students from 2 of my 23 assigned classes and I felt that the class where I ended up being left alone went better than the class where the teacher was with me. My first class was with the freshmen and getting them to answer my questions or ask me questions was like pulling teeth. Even with the teacher prompting them with questions they could ask me, they still weren’t really participating. My other class was with the 3rd graders and their teacher introduced me to the class, said I was there to teach them English, and proceeded to leave. I was alone with them for the entire hour. I thought it went pretty well considering the circumstances. I had to raise my voice a few times to tell them to settle down or be quiet, but at least I was able to get through the tasks I wanted (which was just asking them questions and making them go around the room answering). I had no idea what subject they normally have during that time period and it’s not like the teacher was there for me to ask. Plus, I wanted to get a feel of their English level.

I’ll write some more tomorrow with an update about what my school said in response to the coordinator getting in touch with them.

Oh and I already have so much to talk about in regards to the textbook quality and the relationship between the students and the teachers. Quite a bit different from the U.S.

¡Hablamos pronto!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. amelie88
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 14:53:41

    Sounds a lot like the program I did which was UCETAM (in fact I heard about BEDA by talking to other auxiliares in Madrid). I wasn’t supposed to be left alone without a teacher present but the first school I was in ignored that part of my contract. It was a frustrating experience and this why I ended up switching schools. The second school I was in did have the teacher in the room. And you are right that there is a huge discrepancy between schools in what the auxiliares are expected to do. It all depends on the school. The second school I was in, I was expected to be the English science teacher and had to come up with my own lesson plans. It made for some very interesting classes! My own roommate was expected to be the “plastica teacher” (she ended up switching schools as well, we were both in the same school at first).

    And I can relate to the relationship between teachers and students as well. It was so different! It will be interesting to see the comparisons you come up with. Keep us posted, I love reading your blog. 🙂


    • Yari
      Sep 18, 2012 @ 15:39:29

      I can see why you wanted to switch schools. It definitely is frustrating. If they are going to force us to teach, they should know that we shouldn’t be alone when doing so.
      And I’m sure my school has a copy of the BEDA guidelines and it clearly states that the auxiliar is never to be left alone and lesson plans should be made by both the teacher and the auxiliar. Obviously, my school didn’t read it or is choosing to ignore it.

      What age group did you have at your schools?


      • amelie88
        Sep 18, 2012 @ 18:34:01

        Well, it wasn’t my decision to switch schools. My roommate and I complained about the school and its breach of contract and the school basically told our program, “We don’t like these auxiliares, they’re not doing a good job, they can go to a different school.” There wasn’t much our program could do–they couldn’t make the school follow the contract. They could only threaten to take the school off its list of participating schools. So I really had no choice but to go where the program sent me.

        In the first school, I had infantil and primaria. In the second school, I only had primaria so I had 6 to 12 year olds. I liked the kids up til cuarto. Once they hit the preteens, they became insufferable. It didn’t help that my class didn’t count for a grade and I wasn’t allowed to give them homework! They knew this and took full advantage of it. I’m not sure how BEDA structures its program but that’s the way UCETAM does theirs.

  2. therootedtraveller
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 11:29:33

    You should always have a teacher with you. Never let them trick you into teaching alone.. a couple girls I know here have been sucked into that already! I actually don’t start until Monday because my school wasn’t ready for us, but I expect I’ll have a teacher with me. I’m with teens (15-18).


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