Un Día Escolar en España

5 Oct

8 am. Thirty minutes before the school day begins. Normal reporting time for teachers back at Collins High School, where all my colleagues are teaching. I approach the building and begin to wonder, “Is anyone here?” The parking lot is empty. (I have been there before when there were many cars.) No classrooms had lights on. There were no students milling about. The halls were empty. All the doors to the classrooms are locked. The halls are dark. Not a soul to be found.

After about ten minutes, I finally found the Jefa de Estudios, and she gave me a quick tour of the school where I would be having my classes. That is when I discovered that I would be moving from classroom to classroom, and the students stayed in the same room most of the day! I had heard rumors of such, but never did I actually experience such a thing. So I went back to the Seminario (the English teachers’ planning room) and waited for the English teacher with whom I would be working first.

I had prepared a PowerPoint introducing myself because the teachers had told me they had projectors and computers in the classrooms. But when I entered the room, all I saw was some student desks, a teacher desk and a whiteboard. Lo and behold, the teacher of record took out her keys and unlocked the desk and Voila!, out pops a laptop and all the fixin’s for a 21st Century classroom. I assembled everything very quickly, popped in my USB pen and began my presentation. The students, freshman level, (3ero ESO) were very attentive, except for occasional talking here and there.

The second English class…huge difference! They were 8th graders (2do ESO) and were doing everything they could to show off in front of me. I finally just started talking, brought one of the girls up beside me and made her my “friend” for the day. She quieted down and was much better behaved. She eventually sat down. Another boy continued to talk continuously, so I asked him to come up and be “pretty” and model for us. I demonstrated in front of the class what I wanted him to do, with exaggerated movements. The class laughed. He stayed in front of the class for a few minutes, then I allowed him to sit back down in a different seat, away from his friends. Overall, they were just competing for my attention, but were a good group of kids, once they settled down.

I then had a two hour break. (I can get used to this life!) I gave the intro presentation to another class of freshman, and they were delightful. I also have one sophomore History class to end the day at two o’clock on Fridays. This was the best class of all, as they asked me questions about why I came to Spain, what did I like about Bilbao, and others about my family and what I like to do.

A few things that are different that I am not sure I will ever get used to…They call their teachers by their first names! This shocks me! How do you distinguish between a teacher and a student? Teachers wear jeans every day to school and dress fairly casual (not all, but many). I kind of like this idea, but again, how do you distinguish between teacher and student? The bell, if you can call it that, is a siren! It scares the liver out of me. More than once today I almost jumped out of my skin, and I knew it was coming. The bell sounds more like our fire alarm warning. No clocks, anywhere! I remember this from the last time I was in Spain. Classrooms do not have clocks, hallways do not have clocks; you need to have a watch or your cellphone to know the time, lest that awful siren scare you to your grave! Teachers travel from class to class, not the students. Teachers have to carry their things with them and set up the technology each time they want to use it, wasting valuable time.

I am sure that I will notice other similarities and differences between our schools as the year progresses but these were the most notable differences today.

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One Response to “Un Día Escolar en España”

  1. suscepit452b 17/10/2012 at 02:51 #

    Oh, goody. Art-on-a-cart for everybody. Of course, you always looked good in jeans IISSM. 6-mil

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