Monday, September 23, 2013


Well, howdy!

Last week, I said a little bit about the shock I encountered when I got to my first colegio. They basically handed me chalk and said, "They're all yours!"

Luckily, I had prepared something for my other school. I used an on-the-fly activity, a piece of chalk, and a lot of energy to pull off an amazing feat: a week of classes built from a five second planning panic moment.

I thought perhaps that was just what they wanted me to do for introductions. I thought to myself, "Maybe this week they'll plan something with me or give me some sort of direction."

I had no such luck. Once again, a teacher handed me a piece of chalk and basically said, "Good luck! I'll be reading in the back if you need me."

A few very important details: I'm not in English classes. What's more, I'm in classrooms with teachers who don't even speak English. So much for being an "assistant" and pretending not to speak Spanish. Teachers speak to me in Spanish, and I have to pretend to have no idea what they said. It. Is. Insane.

The next step is to decide what to do with the 30 students who are blankly staring at me. Thankfully, I'm a fully-trained language teacher. I have done countless activities with language learners. I have spent hours upon hours talking to colleagues and supervisors about how to get students to speak in the target language of the classroom. 

But let's be real. They don't know I have that training. Furthermore, I don't get paid to be the teacher. I get paid to help out because I'm a native speaker. If the school would like to shell out my expected salary, I would gladly plan lessons according to language learning requirements. 

Being the teacher is not my job description. The majority of the people in my program are not trained teachers. We all have different degrees. I'm the only Spanish teacher that I've met in the program thus far. My job is to be in an English-speaking class and help with their conversation activities. I also tell them about my culture and life back home when it fits into the lesson. 

I emailed my program director and asked if this is normal. She told me it is not at all normal and to talk to my school director. The school director was completely shocked that this was happening. She said she would speak with the teachers in order to change the setup. 

The change can't come soon enough. Don't get me wrong, I love being in front of the class. However, I am an assistant, not a teacher here. Side note: my other school is phenomenal. We share a DropBox folder. I have their book. I get the class worksheets. Everything. It's brilliant.

If I walk in tomorrow and the format hasn't changed, I'm going Feeny on them. 

Until next time,


...but you can call me Kirt

PS I can't figure out when secondary teachers eat. I eat at 7:30 when I'm leaving. I don't eat again until 2:45 when I leave school. Something's gotta give.

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