Just when you think that it’s getting easier, that the kids might even go a whole day without causing problems, that you might get home and not be completely exhausted, you have a fight in class. Just a typical day, one that I’m starting to expect when I wake up to the delights of the Game of Thrones theme tune (yeah, that’s a very geeky alarm) and 6.20am. In many ways, it’s a rather apt alarm, nice and uplifting, but you know that by the end of todays episode, someone will have probably died.
Whether these deaths come from someone throwing themselves out of a window à la Tommon, or in hand-to-hand combat like Oberyn, I can never be quite sure. These classes are, however, a far cry from what I remember from my own primary school days where we would sit quietly allowing the teacher to…teach. What a strange concept. So until now I’ve had children, the oldest of whom are 11 years old, trying to jump out of second floor windows because they don’t like the class, determined to start a fight just because someone is a different nationality, shouting their way out of class before repeatedly slamming the door to make their point because someone dropped something and everyone laughed… Its been an interesting four weeks so far!
However… I can’t leave this part of the post like this, with you, dear reader, thinking that I hate the school, that I hate the job and that I hate all the kids, because it’s not like that at all! There are a lot of kids there, especially in years 3, 5 and 6, that I really enjoy teaching or that really make me laugh and realise that it is worth the 1hr 15m journey to come to this school as a British Council assistant. It’s lovely to walk into year 3 and hear a chorus of good morning’s, or into year 5 and know that in this class, even if the learning is difficult, at least we will have a good time, or into 6th and know that with at least one or two students I will actually be able to use fairly complex language and they will understand.
The staff at Illes Columbretes, and especially my tutor, Estefania, who luckily lives in València and takes the same train as me 3 out of the 4 times i need to take it, are really lovely, even changing language to talk to me (which I definitely am trying to stop, because as well as practising my Spanish this year I want to get more of a chance to practise speaking Valencian)
In class, apart from the course, we have also been doing a couple of extra activities, especially this week as it was the week before Halloween. As a school, we have tried to create a halloween mural in which the whole school says what is the thing that scares them most, which, apart from 3 students who said that nothing at all scared them, worked rather well (I’ll upload a photo in the next blog). We have also started a postbox idea, in which the students can write a postcard to me, asking things about English culture or telling me about themselves, which has been working well, apart from one kid asking if I had ever worked with the Queen…
Wednesday we went to watch Inferno in the cinema, taking advantage of the fact that the cinema tickets were only 2,90€ that day. Turns out that the Spanish don’t take queuing as seriously as we do, and what could have been a nice, orderly line to get into genuinely the biggest cinema I have ever been in (5 stories!) turned into a sweaty rugby scrum which took us nearly 30 minutes to navigate.
Friday was spent planning a lesson for the 8 year olds I give speaking classes to in a revision centre in Alzira, which, it turned out, was all for nothing as I managed to leave the lesson plan at home. To make this start even worse, my train was delayed and I missed my bus into the centre of the city, meaning that instead of arriving 10 minutes early I arrived 15 minutes late, sweaty and rather out of breath. The good news is that from next week, I should hopefully have a bachillerato (A-Level) speaking class as well!
Saturday, after a 4k charity walk, we went to a Halloween party with Laura’s family, which I think is the first time I have ever celebrated Halloween… However, I can now see the appeal because I must admit it was rather fun to be dressed up as the Grim Reaper with my Vampire girlfriend!
Then yesterday I caught a virus and vomited for the first time in seven years… YUCK! Luckily I have my lovely girlfriend and her mum looking after me so it’s almost like being at home with mum when I was ill as a kid! Anyway, hopefully this will go away soon and I can go back to scoffing all the Spanish food that I love so much, I have to say that watching my adopted Spanish family eating arroz al horno (baked rice) while all I could eat was toast almost killed me, but at least they’ve saved me a bit for when I’m feeling better!!!
Days until Falles: 133