05 October 2011

Strike! Strike! Strike!

This week many of the teachers at my school, and most of the schools here in Madrid, participating in a huelga, or strike. I've thought about joining them (I've never been part of a strike before!), but then I remember that I actually haven't done any real work yet and I'm not even altogether sure about the details of the strike. From what I gather, teachers are receiving decreased pay for increased class hours and more students per class--so nothing too new in the life of a teacher I suppose. But I won't go into a rant on the declining state of public school systems (Apparently it's not just a US thing...).

Anyway, for those who have asked me what I am doing here in Spain and I've mumbled something non-committal about teaching English.. assisting in other classes... maybe with 12-14 year olds... I don't know... stop asking me questions because I know nothing and you're stressing me out!... I finally have a few of those missing details.

I am teaching an hour a week in 18 classes. They are all 3 and 4 ESO and bachillerato students-- or high school aged (9-12 grade in the US system). They are all English classes, but some are with students who are practically fluent and others are with those who don't speak or understand much English at all yet; as well as classes with students who are in honors and international baccalaureate programs and those who are openly designated as "bad students" by the teachers here (and they are separated strictly based on how well they perform on exams). So far, I like them all! In fact, I am particularly fond of those who have a harder time speaking--I relate to them the best probably. All of the students have been really well behaved and friendly, though some classes were easier to keep talking than others. And some of the teachers were more helpful than others (i.e. whereas some of the teachers encouraged their classes to ask questions and participate, others left to "run a few errands" while I stayed with the class).

As for the strike, if the teacher is gone we are not allowed to teach the students. And many students have been absent as well. But I'm surprised, not only that students are allowed to be left alone for hours in classrooms with no supervision, but they seem to behave quite well actually. I haven't noticed any students getting into any trouble or causing problems. And some of these kids are only 12 years old or so.

All in all, I'm really enjoying being with the students and I hope I will have fun year with them. Starting next week I'll actually prepare lessons on some of the topics they are studying-- I just hope I can come up with fun and interesting ideas so they don't get bored of having me in class. Any suggestions would be heartily accepted :)

One down side to my current situation (aside from my still slightly sore and swollen foot), is that I have an hour and a half commute each way to and from work. But that's a great excuse to get in some extra reading, and I am hoping to read mostly Spanish authors and also good short stories and poems I can use with my students in class. So, should you feel so inclined, suggest away in this vein as well!


1 comment:

marissa said...

Kendal, it's crazy that you are actually over in SPAIN right now!!! :) I'm so excited for you. I'm sure the kids will love you. Maybe you should teach them "heads up 7 up," a classic school game! hehehe