4 ways Spanish schools fail at using auxiliares

In theory the auxiliar programme is a great idea. The students get to hear and talk to a native English speaker without having to leave their classroom. However, the reality is very different. Each school uses the auxiliar in a different way and quite often in the wrong way.

4 Ways

In this post you are going to read about how Spanish schools (well most of them) fail at using the auxiliar. It doesn’t matter which programme you are an auxiliar in because I have heard these complaints from all auxiliares. All you need to do is look at the various auxiliar Facebook groups and you will see auxiliares complaining about a situation in their school. Of course this is not the case for everyone. If you are lucky enough to have a school that follows the rules and uses you in the classroom correctly, well you have hit the jackpot.

#1 Not telling them the lesson plan or telling them they have to plan a lesson. On my first day the teacher turned around and asked me what I had planned. I hadn’t planned anything because no one told me which classes I would be having and what level they are. I had been in contact with my school beforehand and there was no mention of having lessons planned for the first day. I had the usual about me speech ready, but not a lesson plan. I do have to plan my eso classes, but I am not given any direction. I do feel like I am making a difference and the students are learning, but they could learn more if I was given direction for the lessons.

#2 Barely using them during the class. Sometimes the teacher just takes over the class and you are left standing there not saying anything. Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the point of having a native speaker in the classroom is so the students can hear/speak to a native English speaker.

#3 Trying to use them in as many classes as possible.

I have an hour with each class a week. How is this a bad thing? Well, first of all it’s a 55 minute lesson and 10 minutes is always lost to settle them down and for the teacher to turn up. The students don’t get much talking time with me so I can’t correct their mistakes or help them with their doubts. The point of the auxiliar de conversación is to improve their spoken English and well that is difficult in 45 minutes with 20 or so students.

#4 Making them sit in a classroom when the students are doing an exam. They are doing an exam so they aren’t having class. Either send the auxiliar to another classroom where the students would benefit from the extra time with a native speaker or don’t schedule the exam during the hour with the auxiliar. It’s simple. Actually I have heard quite a few of the students complaining to the teacher that they always have their exams in my hour and that it isn’t fair.

I would love to hear from other auxiliares if you agree with ‘the 4 ways that Spanish schools fail at using auxiliar’s’ or if you have anything else to add. Write a comment below.




9 responses to “4 ways Spanish schools fail at using auxiliares

  1. #3 You can always use the downtime to talk to them about things that don’t relate to class, like their weekend, their favorites, etc. and correct their mistakes. You don’t have to wait for the teacher.

    • Thanks for the comment 🙂 I wish it was that easy!

      The problem is that it takes that time to settle them down beacuse they are stuck in the same classroom all day. Plus the teacher really shouldn’t pop into the staff room for 10 minutes for a quick break when they have a class.

  2. I definitely agree with these!

    Last year, I was working in an elementary school and was frequently asked to take over with nothing prepared. I felt frustrated because I knew that I could be more useful if I had been given a heads up.

    This year I am often told to ‘go talk to the students’ about their weekend and what they’re working on (I work in a computer-based school where the students are always programming or designing). I find this to be boring and repetitive, especially when I have class with them for three hours and they’re usually really focused on their computer based work. Many asked the director for additional English classes – free from computer based work, and all that resulted in was classes for the teachers :/

    • I really think that they should have a rule where language assistants can only do x, y and z. That way all assistants do the same things in their schools and the students get an equal opportunity to learn from them in the same way. However, this is Spain so that won’t happen!

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  4. Ive been an auxiliar over three years and in 2 schools, and these 4 things have come up again and again. I think it would be very helpful for us to know the lesson plans in advance, whereas now a teacher will just turn to me and say “what can we do now on this topic for the rest of the class?” If i had known the topic/that an activity was needed, i would have planned…and not just stood there feeling stupid trying to think of something.

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