¡First week of school done and dusted!

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I know it’s a cliché, but this week has just flown by! After the first day, it was easy to settle into a routine of getting up, walking (the incredibly scenic route, might I add) to school and showing a presentation explaining where I’m from. Needless to say I’m a bit sick of trying to remember what year Durham cathedral was built and listening to the first 30 seconds of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud…

I am the 14th member of the previously 13-strong all female English department, who have all made me feel very welcomed. The department has also gifted me a number of useful items, including keys to all the classrooms (trusting?!) a notebook, a diary, text books for all the different year groups, and a memory pen; all of which have all proved very handy for the private lessons I’ve started this week as well.

In terms of behaviour, it’s a real mixed bag and not what I expected at all. I expected the bachiller (the Spanish equivalent of A Levels) students, as the oldest in the school, to be the most mature. After all, I remember doing A Levels and having a completely different relationship with my teachers compared with high school. However, while I was speaking there were some students who were politely paying attention, who genuinely seemed interested, and yet some completely at the other end of the scale; chatting away with their friends, not really caring about paying attention to the lesson. On reflection, I’ve decided that this drastic cultural difference must be down to two big distinctions: Although the law has now changed, when I did A Levels education was not compulsory after the age of 16. This must have had a big impact on behaviour as I think about it now – we didn’t ever drag our heels about getting on with work (which consequently led to better teacher-student relationships) because if we weren’t going to do well, there was no point wasting our time studying when we didn’t have to be. Secondly, something which I have only come to realise recently, is that classroom sizes really make a big difference. In the A Level subjects I continued at university, both classes were never with more than 6 other students, and never more than 3 at A2. Again this meant that teachers and students had a much more informal and more relaxed relationship – without wishing to divulge too much into what I learned from my French Syntax and Vocabulary module, many linguisticians take it as a given that the amount of people you are speaking to changes your speech habits.

Funnily enough, while walking to my first class of 1st year students, the teacher said she wasn’t sure how they were going to react to meeting the new auxiliar. I, naively, replied that they would probably be like my 3rd and 4th year classes and all be stunned into silence and too embarrassed to talk in front of their friends with a native speaker. Alas, I couldn’t have been more wrong. As I opened the door to the classroom I could have just as easily been opening the door to a monkey’s cage at a zoo. Let’s just say some of them had definitely been on the Choc-a-pic for breakfast… In addition to this, they were enthused with the opportunity to ask questions – of which both 1st classes asked almost immediately if I had a boyfriend! The cheek of it…

small chocolate devils...

small chocolate devils…

chocapic

No doubt the source of blame

Anyway seeing as I don’t work on Fridays, and we have a Puente (bank holiday) on Monday, I’ll be heading off to Zaragoza with two of my flatmates this weekend for the Fiesta de Pilar. Goodness knows what I’m letting myself in for there – my Spanish flatmate has suggested we go Saturday afternoon then get the first train back at 6am on Sunday. Bearing in mind that Spanish parties often don’t finish until 5am. I’m definitely going to need a long siesta beforehand…

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