I've been trying to come up with a way to explain exactly what I'm doing here, but honestly, I'm still not quite sure yet. In general, auxiliares are supposed "language and culture assistants" or "conversation assistants". But as I've said before, I'm teaching at two different institutos here, so I'm in classes ranging from 6th grade through 12th grade, and in total I teach with 10 different English teachers in 14 different English classes of varying levels. So there are 10 different sets of expectations, 300+ names of students that I don't know, and 7 levels of understanding. So things aren't always clear.
There was an English department meeting this past week at one school, and one of the teachers finally explained exactly what their expectations for us auxiliares. After she explained for a little bit, another auxiliar asked, "So basically you just want us to plan lessons about things that we're interested in?" Her answer: "Yes." So next week I'm going to teach a lesson about fall in Michigan! Yay! I wish I had some apple cider to share or piles of leaves for students to jump in, but alas, a verbal description and powerpoint slides will have to do.
Despite not always knowing what my role is, I must say that the most frustrating thing is the lack of discipline the students have. From studying to be a teacher, I've been taught may different strategies for maintaining classroom control, but they're pretty much all based on a consequence/reward system (e.g. detention, suspension, extra recess, treats, etc.). Schools here (at least at my two) don't have this. One teacher told me you can give a student formal punishment, but the town government gets a copy of these and the school doesn't want to look bad, so they don't want to write a lot of these. Super! Totally makes sense! In this same school, the students simply don't stop talking until they're yelled at by the teacher, who resorts to mild insults if necessary. When I first asked about the discipline code, and the teachers told me I shouldn't have any problems because I'm in the best classes. Oh sweet baby Jesus.
But at the end of the day, I thank my lucky stars that I'm so lucky to even be here in Spain. And goodness knows I will be hella thankful when I'm back teaching in a school where only one person is allowed to talk at once. Or else! (dun! dun! dun!)
(That was the dramatic sound effect of shock/horror.)