Remember why I’m here in Spain?
To teach English, right?
Actually, I am a language assistant. I will never have a class alone, nor will I be responsible for preparing endless lessons or grading papers. According to the Ministry of Education and the Spanish Government our position is defined as:
– Ayudar al profesor titular o profesores
titulares/Assist the certified professors
– Ayudar fundamentalmente a reforzar las
destrezas orales de los alumnos/Assist in fundamentals to reinforce the oral skills of the [Spanish] students
My definition: Hablarás cuando te hablen/Speak only when spoken to
This is not to say that I am at all dissatisfied with my school or my job, because I am grateful for the wonderful teachers and phenomenal students that surround my days there. However, we are not technically teachers and this makes it quite difficult to gain respect from our fellow colleagues, students and even ourselves because we are not seen as very competent. There are certain days that I feel more like a talking chalkboard than an educated linguistics graduate. That being said, there is substantial research that describes the benefits of having a native speaker in the language classroom and that I cannot dispute once you realize that the entire country of Spain is learning English from heavy-accented Spanish adults. I myself learned Spanish from American professors and we had no language assistants that I can recall. So maybe it’s not a question of what the Spanish Ministry is doing wrong, but rather what the entire planet’s education system is guilty of. Except maybe that of Korea… it seems half of our American graduates are there teaching those intelligent kids English!
Regardless, here are a few snapshots of what we have been up to in and out of the classroom
Acro sport figures