Posted by: Cat of Sunshine and Siestas | October 25, 2007

Spain and (a lack of) Discipline

I love my job. I really do. Even when it’s a pain in the ass to plan lessons that teachers won’t let you give and you waste an afternoon looking for an internet cafe that’s actually open sin cerrada, I look forward to taking the bus in the morning with the students and arriving to class late (as the buses, like everything here, are quite unreliable) and getting poked in the hallway so students can say, “Hello, CAT!” to me. It’s fantastic. Really, really fantastic.

But things in Spain are so different. Yesterday, in IBach, which is like junior year of high school age-wise, we talked about the students’ favorite subject. Naturally, none of the students liked English best, but when I asked them why (an ESL’s teachers favorite question), they said they have no choice – they have to take it. They could care less, which makes me feel like I’ve been failing IES Heliche because I can’t finish lessons. I spend a lot of my time going over directions several times or waiting for replies. I’ve resorted to using the attendance sheet to just call on people so I don’t stand up front looking like an idiot all the time. Most of the time I can’t understand them due to the echo anyway, but I think they probably make fun of me a lot, too.

Today, no one bothered to inform me that the 4ESO, aka the only level I teach today, has some kind of field trip to Sevilla to see a museum or a play or whatever. So, in my first class, half the alumnos get up and leave. And the teacher didn’t tell me until afterward that they had some activity planned. Apparently half the teachers didn;t know the activites department had been planning this trip for 4ESO kids with good behavior (though I think walking out on a teacher while she’s in the middle of a lesson is NOT good behavior and rather rude). I had another class later with no students, so Angela took me along to her 2ESO class. I hadn;t prepared anything, but she wanted me to teach them requests. Ok, fine, but I need some kind of prompt or at least a three minute review of what I have to do. I may have a journalism degree, but I know NOTHING about grammar. At least not how to inroduce it. I know Spanish grammar rules because they were actually taught to me, whereas English I just…learned. But it was impossible for me to teach anyway because the kids in the class are like monkeys. I tried to teach them a sign that would tell them to be quiet, and they loved it. The first time. After that, it was hopeless. Kids were fighting and hitting and calling each other names and walking out of class, and Angela didn;t do anything. I don’t think that she’s necessarily apathetic, but she knows it’s a cultural thing. In Spain, children are revered and thus able to do anything they want. Angela has been called out several times for raising her voice in class to calm the kids down, but this is outside the teacher’s code she says. Rosario, a girl who should really be in 4ESO but hasn’t passed her classes two eyars in a row, came up to the chalkboard and banged the hard, wooden side of the erased against the board several times. The noise was obnoxious, but it shut the kids up for a while. It was then that I heard at least the same noise in at least one more classroom. I’m not the only one with this problem. Stupid horomonal 14 year olds. Kidding.

Thank goodness for Halloween lessons next week and a long weekend (aka IRELAND!!!!)

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