A bit of Q&A since you asking some very good questions about my school life … keep them coming!
Q: Do you have your own room?
A: No! No one does. The teachers move between rooms every hour and no one has a room of their own. However, the students in each class are often in the same room. For example, I have several hours a week with the third years and they are always held in the same room. English, Science, Language, etc. Sadly this means 1) no, I did not get to decorate my classroom and 2) the classrooms don’t have the visual aids that we are accustomed to in the US. Instead of maps, posters and pictures, the walls are white, with a blackboard at the front of the room. This is a shock for me! At first glance, I considered it a disadvantage because students all learn differently — audio, tactile and visual learners respond differently to their environments. Hopefully once we kick off the pen pal project, there will be posters of our exchange and other fun things. I think there may also be a bit of Thanksgiving artwork in our future.
Q: Did you get paid yet??
A: I sure did! Miraculously, I received a check on 29 October, directly deposited into my account. My roommates and other auxiliares have also received their pay, so we are quite relieved after the original scare during the first meeting in early October. Paychecks are awesome 🙂
Q: Are you by yourself at your school?
A: Not anymore! Jaime has arrived from Boston and now we are two. I work Monday through Thursday and he works Tuesday through Friday. Between the two of us we cover 24 hours of class time (theoretically). We also spend time with each of the four grade levels (11 – 16 years old) throughout the week. In our town there are 3 primary schools (primarias) and 2 secondary schools (institutos), and each school has at least 2 auxiliares. Remember that we are 80 in the Huelva province, 1200 in Andalucia and 2000 in Spain!
Q: What subjects are you teaching?
A: I have several English classes, two Language classes, a History class, a Biology class, a Chemistry / Physics class and Natural Science / Geography. They are SO different and the levels of the kids continue to astonish me. When I ask them to translate a worksheet on solids, liquids and gases – they have no problem! Their are accumulating an amazing amount of vocabulary and are conquering their fear of speaking English out loud.