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!
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.
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!