I wrote this but realized I never posted it! Enjoy!!
Hello everyone! It is coming down to the last few days of my trip and I have just realized that I haven’t explained the answer to the main question of the entire trip: What is the school day like?
Let me start off by saying that you will be surprised. In America, we believe our students can be lazy at times, disruptive at times, and just plain bad at times. Well, after seeing the third grade boys at my school here, I see things a little different. It’s definitely not that people here are not adequate teachers or that the school is bad…by all means, this school has such a great family and community feeling and has taught me a lot about education. However because of the Spanish culture, the classes are run much differently. For instance, starting in 1st grade, these students are learning Spanish, English, and Catalan (a local language similar to Spanish). They rotate their classes every year so that they can practice each language in a different subject. The students amaze me at how fast they soak up information and can speak in three different languages by the age 8-I am 21 and even struggle with my primary language sometimes.
The classes I teach are all in English (Art, Science, and well, English). The classrooms are separated by gender so I work with class 3C and 3D for most of each day. These are the two 3rd grade boy classrooms. For Art class, I also get to work for about 45 minutes a day with 3A and then 3B (the girl classes). It was a big shock walking into the girl classrooms for the first time because telling them to quiet down one time would upset them and there was silence the rest of the period. This is in comparison with teaching the boys who are constantly talking, joking, and walking around the classroom even after reminding them to sit down and be quiet roughly 10 times in 5 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, the boys can be so fun to joke around with, they laugh when I speak Spanish and love the fact that I own a donkey and goats. However, the girls are at the age where they want to help the teacher in any way they can, including boosting my self esteem by making me cards every day!
While these classrooms are regular education classrooms in a private Catholic school, there are some students who have caught my attention as a soon-to-be-certified special educaton teacher. It is interesting for me to figure out possible disabilities and look for strategies to help these students in the classrooms. However, because of the loose and relaxed dicipline, and loud and energetic classrooms, I only have a short time left to try to improve their educational experiences.
As for my schedule, every day is different. However the daily breaks are mostly the same. School begins at 9 am and after 2 45-minute classes I get a coffee/planning break from 10:30-11:30 or 12:00. Then, after 2 more classes, I have lunch from 1:30-2:45. After that, one or two more classes to teach and then I am done between 4:15 and 4:45 every day. It is so different having such late school days, but I kind of like it. It is also nice having so many long breaks.
I hope this helps clear up some questions about school life in the area. It is definitely different, but I have collaborated with my cooperating teacher and we have both learned so much to enhance our classrooms.
On this final weekend abroad, I will touring the city of Barcelona and visiting some final monuments alone. I am excited and exhilerated about being on my own in such a big city because I will boost my independence and it will really sink in that I am actually in such a far away place. To all the adults reading this, trust me, I will not go anywhere alone in the dark. Oh, and to all of the soccer fans, my host family has SEASON TICKETS to the FC Barcelona Football matches and when is their next game? THIS SUNDAY!! I am beyond excited and know it will be a highlight of the entire trip!
It is insane how fast this month has gone by but even more crazy that after 2 days back in the states, I will be walking the line. I have a variety of mixed emotions right now including excitement for coming home, anxiety for the future, homesickness, sadness for leaving these kids (even if they are wild), pride for completing student teaching, happiness for meeting so many wonderful people here, and exhaustion from…well…this entire semester.
As mentioned before, friend request me on Facebook for pictures! And I apologize for such a long post!
¡Hasta Luego! (See ya later!)