Monday, November 14, 2011

Teaching English and learning Spanish

I mostly love my job here. I go to different classes for an hour or a half hour every week, and I generally help out with the lesson for that time. My schedule is a little crazy because it's different every day, but I love it.

9:30-10: 1st grade English
10-11: 6th grade bilingual science
11-12: Plan time (otherwise known as an email and coffee break)
12-12:30: 6th grade English

9-10: 5th grade science
10-11: 3rd grade science
11-11:30: 3rd grade science
11:30-12: Plan time
12-1: 1st grade English

10-10:30: 6th grade bilingual science
10:30-11: same subject, different class
11-11:30: 1st grade art
11:30-12: Plan time
12-1: 2nd grade science

9:30-10: 6th grade English
10-11: 3rd grade music
11-11:30: 1st grade art

I help one teacher with 4 different classes, so we're getting into a rhythm, which I really like. She told me that she wants me to practice my Spanish, so usually she only talks to me in Spanish. She lets me do a lot with the classes, and since they're 5th and 6th grade, we can usually understand each other pretty well.

I love my first grade classes. I love how excited they are to teach me Spanish words and to learn words from me. I read a story to my first graders today, and they were totally involved in it, and then they sang their song about the colors of the rainbow in English for me, and it was totally precious.

My 6th grade English class on Mondays is basically me taking groups of students into the hall to practice conversation or pronunciation, and it is so much fun. They're loud, and sometimes out of control, but they love getting to talk to me. Since I have so many classes with 6th graders, I'm getting to know them and their personalities, so it's usually a pretty amusing time. They love telling me hi whenever they see me around the school. All of my students do, actually. One class was in PE in the courtyard when I walked through today, and they all stopped and started saying hi to me. So cute! The first graders love to give me hugs on the playground too. I love being with them, and I think they know that.

I definitely enjoy helping teach science, but since it's mostly from the textbook, and they are at a low level of English understanding, I can't use my summer camp background as much as I would like to. I am starting to figure out where the different classes are though, and I'm starting to do more in those classes.

I think the most interesting part is that I can't make it through a whole school day without speaking in Spanish to students. I usually slip into Spanish with the younger ones because that's all they speak to me when they have questions or want to tell me something, and with the older ones, sometimes I have to explain in Spanish what I said in English because it's a little complicated. I sometimes think that it would be easier if I didn't speak any Spanish at all, or was completely bilingual, but I am trying to make it all work. I think it doesn't help that I usually speak Spanish to the teachers, because they do want me to practice and get better, but in classes, I speak in English to everyone. I switch back and forth all day, and sometimes I don't even realize when I switch back and forth in normal conversation and in the same sentence. It's really cool, and I apologize in advance if I do it to you when I talk to you after I come home.

I learn a lot of Spanish by watching TV in Spanish with subtitles, or sometimes watching a favorite American show in English with Spanish subtitles. I really love some Spanish game shows to practice new words, and learn some random trivia. It's not being lazy, it's practicing my listening and learning to understand a Spanish accent!

I miss you guys so much, and I can't wait to be home for Christmas!! Here's a picture of me at the Alcazaba this weekend:
Just sitting on the top of the outer big deal.
Unos abrazo fuerte,