Adventures from Teacherland

So a few hysterical things that have come up in the past few days….

1. Helping the third grade teacher with English placement exams…. I had to go around to each student and ask them five questions, and based on their answers, give them a check or x mark. A few of them did really well… but some of them did really bad. I will include the questions, along with some of my favorite responses.

1) Can monkeys fly?

– “Monkeys.”

– “Yes.”

2) What is the weather like today?

– “Tuesday.”

– :::Blank stare:::;

3) What does the glue feel like?

– “Soft.”

– :::Blank stare:::

4) What time is it?

– “Yes.”

– :::Blank stare:::

5) What does your mother do?

– “She uhh… is-a my motharr.”

I hope you liked the typing out of the Spanish accent there. It is bizarre because many of the English teachers here have crazy English or British accents…… so neat.

I wrote an email to Jes today about how things are going at the school…. after a week of being there. I´m going to now paraphrase that to give a clearer picture of what´s been going on.

I’m at a school called Colegio Gredos San Diego Vallecas. Gredos San Diego is like a network of about 6 schools here in Madrid. It is in a city called Vallecas, which is right south of Madrid (basically, the main train station in Madrid is called Atocha…. on the train from Alcala, the stop I get off at is the one directly before Atocha. And then I can walk to the school in five minutes. It is beautiful. Anyway, so the colegio has students from Infantil (like 6 months old) to Primaria (1st-6th grade), Segundaria (7th-10th grade) and Bachilliario (11th/12th grade level for us). THey’re separated by floors, and luckily I haven’t had to have any exposure to the Segundarios or above (I am afraid of them, frankly). The other people from my Master’s program are all over madrid… from Getafe in the south to Las Rozas in the north, all over Madrid and beyond. It’s insane. I got lucky since my school is so central, and it’s also only a few metro stops away from where my Master’s classes are, which happen to also be held in a Colegio…. it’s better than at the main University of Alcala campus though, since it’s a little bit far for some people.

Anyway. There are three other Americans at my school… one girl that was there last year, and two others who are currently there doing an internship from a program at Simmon’s College in Boston. They are really nice. The school right now does not really know what to do with us. We are supposed to be “language assistants”, but some of the people in other schools are actually teaching entire classes on their own. We were told we would be working with the teachers, but on the first day I was there, they were like “start writing lesson plans!” (I haven’t done that since, nor did i enact my half ass lesson plan that I did make). So what I’ve been doing is going into the classrooms for 45 minutes – English classes, as well as the Science and Art classes which are taught in English – and I kind of sit and watch the professors. Sometimes they will ask me how to pronounce something, or to read something aloud, and Friday I got to explain the seven dwarves and their inherent characteristics that gave them their names to a class of sixth graders. It was AWESOME. I’ve been in classes from 1st-6th grade, but frankly I like anything older than fourth grade. They actually know what’s going on.

The first few times I went into different classes, the teachers would have me introduce myself or ask the students if htey wanted to “make a question” for me. This turned out especially intriguing in one sixth grade class. I think they were so excited to use their English, that they started ATTACKING me with quesitons… starting with “What ees your name?” and “How old are you?” to “Do you have any siblings?” “Are you afraid of hurricanes?” “What is your sister name?” “How many cousins do you have?” (which seems like an odd question to me, I was like, that is difficult to count, and frankly, how many cousins do YOU have, little spaniard, with your giant extended family?!?!). The class continued with the teacher working with small groups of children at a time, and the rest of them, while not working with the teacher, bumrushed me with an atlas and wanted to tell me how they were going to visit new york, how they have family in south america, how they want to go to Mexico, and so on and so forth. It was so cute. I have to admit that it’s frustrating since I still don’t have a definite schedule, and I don’t know what my function will be in the classroom, but at the same time, I’m having a blast just being in the school. Also, I get to eat free lunch, which will save me assloads of money in the long run, and the food is actually pretty great! Other hysterical antics from the children involve….
– I was in a second grade class, and the gym teacher came in to take them to phys ed, and all of a sudden they started disrobing to change into their gym clothes. Literally. Just no shame pants-dropping. It was awkward but hysterical.
– First grade is my fav bc they all look DRUNK…. I was watching the class as the prof was talking, and all of them were like, twisting around in their seat, picking hteir nose, talking to themselves, doing weird things with their pencils…. it was like a class full of wasted people.
– I met a sixth grader who speaks four languages already…. English, Spanish, Russian and French. She’s moving back to Belgium next year to learn Dutch. Awesome?! I am jealous!!!
– The speak British English here. My friend Amy told me how her prof in her school had a whole conversation about drawing a picture about a “rubber”… you know, you could draw two guys asking each other for a rubber. At which point I almost died laughing. “Rubber” is what the Brits use for eraser. HEHEHEHE!

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Other exciting happenings…

– We had a delicious BBQ at the residencia, featuring more pork than humanly possible. Awesome.

– Botellon Thursday! Wooooot!

– Still can’t effin wait to move into my new piso…. oyyyy.

– Starting to put photos up on Facebook. Stay tuned 🙂

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