The four main lessons I learned from being an auxiliar were that becoming an auxiliar de conversación will change your life, you absolutely must embrace uncertainty to be successful as a language assistant, you’ll have a “balance of stories” of Spaniards instead of a “single story” perspective, and that it’s a perfect low-risk opportunity to try out teaching before spending money on a credential program!
In my favorite classes as an auxiliar de conversación extranjero, while the teacher teaches, I can usually interrupt with stories or cultural examples whenever I want. If I want to play games or do a presentation, I just have to let the teacher know. The teacher tells me what we’re doing the day before or the week before.
Not “checking for understanding” may seem to speed things up in the classroom, but speeding through the chapters of your textbook in an attempt to “win” the curriculum race means nothing if you’re the only one who gets it. A key to successful language learning is to check for understanding quickly and often. Don’t teach something and wait for the exam to correct misconceptions. Teach it, and immediately see if your students understand.
Here are some resources I wish I had the summer before I became an auxiliar de conversación in order to brush up on my Spanish. I’ve been teaching languages for over 10 years—and have seen tons of students who LOVED learning and many students who didn’t. Here are recommendations I have to help ensure learning Spanish stays fun.
This next part is awesome. Ask for a volunteer to incorrectly model how to follow the steps. Remember Julio? Get Julio up there front and center. Let him break all of the rules. Let him speak in Spanish. Let him take off his shoes, dormir una siesta, lo que sea--Julio will be so into this it’s not even funny. T