Last To Know


There could easily be an entire series written by Language Assistants about the "worst thing" about dealing with Spanish schools. For some, the worst thing is not getting paid on time. Which to be fair, is truly the worst thing. But everybody has a different story. And therefore everyone has a "worst thing."

For me, the answer is simple: I hate the not knowing. What do I mean? Well, the reality is that as the lowest rung on the school's hierarchy, you are often the last to receive information. This wouldn't be an altogether bad thing if much of that information was vital to your job. Or made an otherwise large impact on your lived experience here in Spain.

Those who have lived here for a while will tell you that there will be days when you have to go on a field trip, but no one told you beforehand. Or many days when school will end early, late or be otherwise canceled, but you won't know until after you already showed up and are facing a locked door.

As this is not my first time at the rodeo, I tried to preempt this by asking for a school calendar. It was something that I received upon entry at my other schools. However, this year, I was given instead the opportunity to take a photo of the days off that my coordinator had written in her own personal calendar. To be honest, I thought that this would work as a way to ward off any surprises. But alas, no. I was wrong.

This morning, I woke up at 6:30am, took two metros, and a long distance train, then waited for a half an hour to ride the school bus with a bunch of children, only to be told upon arrival that there were no classes today. Instead, the entire school will be celebrating Valencia Day with games and parties that start at 9:30am and last until 5pm. UN.TIL. 5.

This means that there will be no 1pm school bus to take some of the children (and me) home. And as there is no public transportation to or from here to the center of town, this means that I am literally stuck here for eight hours--when I am only being paid for 3.

My first class was supposed to start at 10:20. The second one is scheduled for 11:40 and the last at 4pm. To be honest, I was no fan of that almost 4-hour break in between classes. But I can tell you that I am even less thrilled to be here when I am not even expected to really work.

And speaking of actually working, technically, I am supposed to be in a group of teachers helping to--I don't know--watch the kids or something. But I have no idea which one that is because you guessed it, no one told me. So, instead, I decided to do some work of my own that actually benefits me. Instead of wasting my time here when I could be doing literally anything else.

But that's the reality of life here in Spain. While it is true that you are a vital part of the system, you will be treated as though you are disposable. And when it comes to knowing, something/anything about how things work here, you will always be the last to know.

Candace FykesComment