School Has Begun!
13 October 2019
1 October was two Tuesdays ago. It was also my first day of classes. To be nice, they made it an easy day for us. I only had to show up for the English department meeting at 11:40, and only had to stay for 10 minutes of that to introduce myself and grab my schedule. And then go to the rest of my classes that day, of which I had just one. I wasn’t complaining.
Since I don’t have a teaching license in Spain, I’m not really a teacher so much as I am the language assistant. I go to class with the actual English teacher and I help them in class. Usually that means pronunciation and explaining vocab, and just giving them a chance to hear me talk. But because there a lot of classes over a lot of grades, they aren’t going to put me in one class and those 30 kids are all who get me. Instead, I’m spread all over the place and see some classes once a week, most classes every other week. It was the same way in China too. Though there were 2-3x as many kids per classroom in China.
At any rate, I was told to prepare a presentation about myself for the kids because they’re curious about the foreigner, and because they have a lot of questions. So basically for the past two weeks I’ve been giving a talk about myself for about an hour 3-4 times a day. I’m ready to be done with that.
Since most classes by now have met me, we’re moving on to the book each grade is reading. This year we’re doing Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Legend of Tom Sawyer, Picture of Dorian Gray, and Frankenstein for grades 7, 8, 9, & 12 respectively. They’re called something different in Spanish schools, but that’s about the ages I’m teaching. Oh, and they’re not the original books, which would be impressive. They’re level appropriate readers so the kids have some chance of understanding them.
So that’s the gist of it. The English teachers are all really nice, the kids are insane, but they’re also energetic teens who’d rather be running around… like all kids. But they’re basically good. The novelty of me being there hasn’t worn off so they haven’t turned on me yet. But so far so good.
The only real downside so far is the commute. It’s about 15 minutes to the train station, half an hour by train to the Parla (city I teach in) and another 15 minute walk to school. All said and done, it’s not a bad commute except for the part where I have to get up at 6 in order to get ready, have breakfast, and get to school. Given my tendency to be a night owl, and Spain’s proclivity for late night activities, it’s been a bit of an adjustment.
But all in all, I’m happy with my lot.
**Edit** One nice thing I realized today about commuting out of the city is that I’m doing it in the opposite direction as everyone else who works in Madrid and lives elsewhere. So I generally get the trains to myself instead of being a sardine. So there that is.