Sunday, October 26, 2008

mis clases

The whole reason that I even came to Spain was to teach, and I haven’t written anything about that so far. So, that is the subject of today’s post.
I’m working at two different schools and at each school there are two English teachers. One school is Pedro Primero (Pedro 1), with Luis and Isabel, and the other is Alto Aragón, with Inma and Lorenzo. I have two classes of 4th, 5th and 6th grade at each school, so all in all I have 12 classes.
Here’s my schedule, so you can know what I am doing while you are still sleeping/starting your day. Monday I have class from 10:00 to 1:00, then from 3:00 to 4:00. Tuesday I go from 11:00 to 1:00 then 3:00 to 5:00. Wednesday is 12:00 to 1:00 then 3:00 to 4:00 and Thursday is 10:00-12:00. So it’s a pretty sweet schedule and I didn’t even ask for it, that’s just what they gave me. There is a two hour break for lunch everyday. A lot of kids go home to eat, but some of them stay in the cafeteria. Their cafeteria food is SOOO much better than ours back home. It’s actually real food that is cooked right before it’s served. Teachers eat at 2:15 in the cafeteria and they eat the same food as the kids. Most days there’s bread and salad, and then a first course, which so far has been pasta, mashed potatoes or soup, and then there is the second course, which is some kind of meat. Then they have fruit and yogurt. Also, for the teachers they serve wine! That was kind of a shock seeing wine on the table at school, but here it’s completely normal. So far, all the food I’ve eaten at the school has been really good, but some of the times I haven’t been too sure of what I was eating.
OK, enough about cafeteria food. I really, really like being in the classroom. Most of the kids are really cute and for the most part well behaved. In most of the classes they talk a lot, but I think that’s normal in any country. A few of them are little punks, though and I find myself really wanting to chew them out in English but of course they won’t understand me and that’s not really my job. The 5th graders are definitely the worst behaved at both schools, so I don’t enjoy those classes as much as the 4th and 6th. Funny stuff happens on a daily basis. There is one boy who wears glasses but I don’t think they are strong enough so every time I look at him he is squinting, like he can barely seen anything, and it makes me laugh every time, especially when I am up at the front talking, and he is just squinting at me. One kid told me he likes to break dance and so he showed me a few of his moves after class, and another girl in the same class asked me for my autograph. I don’t know all their names yet, and it kills me because I really want to, but I only see them for one hour a week so it’s kinda hard. When I was in school, I always thought that was a weak excuse for teachers not knowing kid’s names, but now I can understand.
Even though I am having a lot of fun in the classroom, I am SO glad I chose speech pathology as my major and not education. I would much rather be working with all these kids in a one-on-one setting and I still don’t really like talking in front of the whole class, even though these kids are ten years younger than me. At this point I can’t really tell if they are going to improve their English with me here, because we have mostly just been doing introductory kind of stuff. The curriculum they use here is a lot different than what I expected. I was thinking it would be like our Spanish 1 classes in the states where you start learning basic vocabulary first, then start with present tense verbs. Here they have this crazy book that I can’t even explain to you. I don’t feel like it really helps them learn English and they definitely don’t know basic vocabulary, like parts of the body, seasons, weather, family or the months of the year. I tried to play a game during the second week where they had to draw a word and describe it in English to their team without saying the word, like catchphrase. It didn’t really work out so well because a lot of times they didn’t know the word that they drew. Then when I or the other teacher would tell them the word in Spanish, they didn’t know enough other words to be able to describe it. Some of the classes were way worse than others, and it was almost painful for me to sit there while they were trying to describe the word tree or winter. Especially because I love catchphrase and I was thinking of a million different ways to tell them how to describe it, but they just didn’t understand. So I think we will not be playing that game again for a long time. Ok this is getting to be too long and no one is going to want to read it. I am going to try to post every week from now on what we are doing in class, and then post pictures if I have any at the end of the week. Thanks for reading!
Mucho amor y hasta pronto!

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