Teaching en otro idioma

I started the actual job part of this Spain experience a week ago, on Monday the 3rd. Basically what I do is aid the classroom teacher in the English lesson, but that can vary wildly depending on the class. For example, to illustrate a typical week, let’s quickly review my first week of teaching.



9:30 am -> Bilingual meeting. Inma, Jose, and I get together to discuss what it is we will do with the littlest kids this week. Besides beginning things like the alphabet and colors, the theme this week is body parts. Inma and Jose review the activities and materials they have used in the past, then ask me if I have any input. Feeling dumb, I sing them the “Mi Cuerpo” song. They like it, and have me sing it about 4 more times so they can write it down and learn it.

10:30 am -> 4 year olds. They come up to the English classroom so that we can use the SmartBoard. Jose already has the songs up, which focus on the ABCs. There are 2 songs, and the 2nd one gives English words after each letter. Jose has me say the words out loud and the kids repeat them. This only works because I am a novelty and the kids are fascinated by me. After that, it has been 30 minutes and thats all that 4 year olds can take. We take the kids downstairs for snack for the other 30 minutes of class.

11:30 am -> Break. The kids go outside.

12:00 noon -> 4th grade. Inma and I pick them up from the playground and they are SO EXCITED. Class is a bit of pandemonium because everyone is falling all over themselves to talk. We review numbers and talk about the date and the weather.



I have to go into Jerez for orientation. More on that in a non-teaching post.



9:30 am -> 2nd grade. This was easily the best and most productive class of the school. They knew all their numbers up to 20, although they weren’t as good on how to spell them in English. We did a few group activites and a worksheet on this.

10:30 am -> I have a free period.

11:30 am -> Break. The kids go outside.

12:00 noon -> 3rd grade. Surprisingly this class does not do as well with the numbers. They do know all their months in English though. There is also a kid in the class who speaks only Chinese. I try to speak to him in Chinese but he is too shy to answer. Later I hear from his classroom teacher that he had told her in the limited Spanish he has how he spoke Chinese with the new teacher. I’ll get him to talk to me one of these days . . .

1:00 pm -> Art class with the 1st graders. The idea behind this is that if subject classes are taught in English, the kids will get more vocabulary than through just an English class. It’s a good idea, but this 1st grade class is NUTS. There are 26 of them and they are all chatty. Apart from the drawing activity we practice body parts vocabulary by me showing a picture and saying the name in English. I am supposed to say an incorrect name once in a while and the kids are supposed to call me on it. I don’t like this activity because as often as not the kids do not call me on it, so they are learning the wrong words.



10:30 -> 6th grade. Except today I don’t have the 6th grade class because there is an assembly. Turns out that this assembly is Mass, like, Catholic Mass. Inma and I hang out in the English room with the 3 kids who are not Catholic, to keep them company Inma says, but I think she was trying to give me a way to not have to go to Mass. I wouldn’t have minded but it was nice of her. I planned some extracurricular lessons for next week.

11:30 -> Break. The kids go outside.

12:00 noon -> 5 year olds. Except when I go talk to Jose, he tells me that since they had to move the schedule around to accomodate my hours, he hadn’t arranged for the 5 year olds to have English at this slot, so no class.

1:00 pm -> Art with the 2nd graders. Once again, this class was totally on top of things. They remembered all of the art vocabulary they had been learning (draw, color, cut, paste) although they needed prompting.


This week I will have another day off, because Wednesday is a national holiday. But as you can see, my job is not super stressful, and I don’t worry much about it. However, starting this afternoon I will be teaching some extracurricular English classes, just me, so I am a little nervous about that. More on those in an upcoming post!


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