La Maestra

I began teaching today! Which means I’m really, really here.

Walking to the Plaza de Armas bus station from my apartment proved to be a short commute (10-12 minutes), and I successfully purchased bus tickets and found the correct bus. Like I’ve said, the little things are big successes in Spain, so that alone left me feeling proud of myself. The bus ride was an hour and fifteen minutes, through some gorgeous Andalucían landscapes and cute pueblitos, and then I arrived in Villarrasa. I got a bit lost on the way to the school but managed to find it thanks to the help of two friendly Villarrasan ladies and a student who came out front to get me, and then there I was, an English teacher in Spain!

This is exactly what it looks like when I teach. In fact, that’s a photo of me here in Spain. I thought I’d try some new glasses.

I was introduced to all of the teachers in the school, all of whom seem super nice. I’ll be communicating in English with the English teachers to help them improve their English, but for the others I’ll pull out my Spanish skills, which will help me improve my Spanish as well. As I went from classroom to classroom meeting the teachers, the students stared at me in awe. It’s a town of 2,170 people, so I’m sure a new face, especially such a pale, blonde one, is a surprising sight to see. The teachers then took me into a few English classes, where the students had free reign to ask me any questions, as long as they were in English. Some were pretty entertaining, like:

  • Is your hair originally blonde? (Yes, I swear!)
  • What’s your address? (Please come visit me in Sevilla, everyone!)
  • Are you married? (Oh lord no.)
  • What’s your favorite football/soccer team? (My answer of Real Madrid got a lot of angry responses. But it’s understandable that 11 to 14-year-olds wouldn’t appreciate Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas’ good looks.)
  • Have you seen any celebrities? (Yes.) Which ones? (Where do I start?)
  • Have you ever been to Abu Dhabi? (Uhhhhh no.)
  • What are your friends’ names? (You want me to list all of them?)
  • Do you like Justin Bieber? (Seriously?)

I loved it. Some kids were raising their hands every thirty seconds, others remained quiet the whole time, but hopefully they’ll all become more comfortable with me as the year progresses.

During recess, I had a bunch of the younger kids look at me, giggle, say, “Hello,” giggle again, then ask, “What’s your name?” and giggle some more, then when I would reply, “Kirstie,” they would giggle even harder. I get the impression that English-language names sound ridiculous to some of them, but, hey, I’d think so too.

I’ll probably be like her, except minus the school bus…but with the magic.

We then tried to work out my schedule, which was a much more complicated process than you’d think, since I’m supposed to be teaching some of every age group (except for the 3-year-olds). So I’ll have between half an hour and two hours with each class between the ages of 4-14 with a few different teachers. Should be cool having such variety, especially once I’m there long enough to figure out what level they’re all at. I’ll be working four days a week (Monday through Thursday) from about 10:30 to 2 and will probably be able to commute in with one of the teachers on Thursday mornings, saving me a bit of bus fare.

It’s a bit nerve-wrecking delving into real teaching (or, well, assistant teaching, which is much easier, I think!) for the first time (tutoring and doing occasional lectures in classes I took are not quite as intense as the real thing), but I think I’m going to get a hang of it really quickly and start to love it. Tomorrow, I teach the equivalent of 1st, 4th, and 8th grade. I’m not sure yet what each teacher will want from me specifically, but I’ve prepared some notes about California and questions to ask the students in case I need something. Hopefully it goes well!

12 Responses

  1. Lauren says:

    Abu Dabi? That’s a really strange question… do they think we vacation there or something?

    • Kirstie says:

      He asked me if I had traveled a lot, and I said yes, so he asked if I had been there and then explained that it was the world’s richest country. It’s not even a country, but I guess he wanted to prove that I hadn’t actually traveled that much.

  2. Dan says:

    Why the negative response to Real Madrid?

    • Kirstie says:

      Barcelona fans, of course!

      • Dan says:

        I guess I just failed Spanish geography. I thought you were closer to Madrid than Barcelona. Is there a good local team? I think it would be really fun if we could go when I am there.

        • Kirstie says:

          Nah, I am closer to Madrid, but Madrid and Barcelona are the best Spanish clubs, and there’s always a huge rivalry between them. People don’t necessarily pick geographically.

          There are two teams in the top division this year (one just got bumped up), FC Sevilla and Betis, but I just checked last night, and they’re playing I think the day before you get here and the day after you leave (and maybe not even in Sevilla). 🙁

          • Cat says:

            Viva Er Beti!! But, really, don’t even tell the kids who you root for, lest you want to find yourself with a big jaleo in your classroom! I played dumb when I got that one.

            My favorite question was, “Are all teachers of the America so pretty as you?” I gave him a detention the following week for breaking shit in the classroom.

            • Kirstie says:

              I’ve been trying to tell them I like every team or that I like the Spanish national team, but they all insist on me picking a specific team. Today a girl gave me a huge hug because I said I liked Real Madrid, so it’s all good.

              Man, I must be horrendous if I’m not getting any pretty comments from the kids, although I think one was trying to propose to me today before his teacher made him get up off the floor.

  3. I am so thrilled to be able to be with you in spirit while you are there! You make it so vivid and very interesting! How is the weaher? Love you!

  4. Well, you’re better than most – you’ve actually seen celebrities! I think I disappointed them by saying, basically, no.

    • Kirstie says:

      I’m just impressed they know to associate California with celebrities! My señora when I was in Granada in 2006 had never even heard of Hollywood.

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