One's destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things. -Henry Miller

Posts tagged “Teaching

The Ups and Downs of Teaching

I have to admit that I am slightly out of my comfort zone when it comes to being a teaching assistant. I love children, but I am not much for disciplining and I can’t shout very loudly. In any leadership position I’ve ever held, it’s been a real struggle  for me to be firm, and it’s no different in this scenario. A room full of 6-year-olds are not going to listen if you quietly murmur, “um, listen, please!”

Some days are more difficult than others. Take Wednesday for example. I spent approximately 20 minutes explaining the difference between farm animals and wild animals. We also reviewed animal vocabulary of specific animals that fit into those categories…shark, eagle, lion, cow, chicken, etc. After the lesson, I passed out an activity that asked the students to draw their favorite farm animal and their favorite wild animal. I thought the students really understood the lesson until I noticed that one students drew a butterfly as her favorite farm animal. Fail. I can’t really blame this girl. As a child, if I made a mistake writing a letter, the scratched out blotch would bother me so much that I would turn it into a heart. It’s not far-off to imagine that if I didn’t understand something, I’d just draw a butterfly.

However,  some days can be incredibly rewarding…when the children hug me and draw me pictures. Or when they remember words or concepts that I have explained. When they are eager to answer questions, or when they see me in the hallway and say “Hello, teacher!” Those little joys brighten my day and make my job feel worthwhile.

This is a great experience to try a career on for size, but I have learned that teaching is not the best long-term fit for me.  I have so much respect for teachers after doing just a small percentage of their job for this short amount of time.  I think certain people in this world are gifted with the patience and creativity that equips people to be successful, long-term teachers. Kudos to them!


Three Random Things (in ONE blog post!)

1. If you’ve been following my blog at all, you will understand the joy that is this photo:

Yes, friends, I made myself a pumpkin pie. Delicious. Everything I wanted and more. I even made the crust. A big shoutout goes to my mom who brought me the can of pumpkin in the first place.

2.  Sunday was International Peace Day. And hey, I love peace! The kids in my school have been learning “Imagine” by John Lennon. I have probably heard that song upwards of 50 times in the last two weeks. And most of them can really only sing the part that goes “Imagine all the people.” I wish you could hear it in their precious accents. It’s too good. It sounds more like “eem-ah-jeannnn alll zeee-peeh-pulll.” It was really beautiful though, with all of the students singing the song in harmony and talking about peace and what it means to them. They also drew Picasso-style depictions of peace. Keep the spirit of peace in your hearts, babies, you are the future. 🙂

3. I don’t think I like dating in Spain. It’s really confusing. I would probably identify dating in the U.S.A. as “confusing,” so it’s difficult to quantify how much more confusing it is in a foreign language. Most of the time I can’t tell if I’m on a date. And what makes things worse, is that it’s not standard protocol for boys to pay for you here. And if they do, it really means nothing. So there’s no identifier. There’s no word for “date” (the verb or the noun) in Spanish. This should really tell me something.

Early on in my time here, I asked my Spanish girl friend if boys asked girls on dates. She said, “Yea, you go on dates with your boyfriend.” I then questioned, “But…before someone is your do you get to know each other?” She replied (this is serious), “I don’t know…meet in the park and kiss?”

So there you have it. Spanish dating in a nutshell. I don’t know if this is going to work out for me. I am honestly amazed by people who have cross-cultural relationships. There are so many challenges to overcome (ya know, beyond identifying whether or not you’re actually going on dates).

That’s all for today. Hope you enjoyed my random musings.


The Cutest Baby Jesus Spoon I’ve Ever Seen.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And our school had this project where all of the students made manger figurines using a wooden spoon. They are displayed in the lobby, and they are so adorable.

Spoon people and animals!

Three Wise Spoons!

Camel Spoons!

Angel Spoon! (With glitter leaf wings).

Joesph and sleeping baby Jesus spoons! (also note cow spoon in the background).

Other cutie spoons.

Children are such artists. I am continually in awe of their creativity and perspective.  So often in class I think of the quote by Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

On another note,  this week we had this beautiful and extravagant Christmas lunch at school for all of the teachers. We all sat in the library after school and feasted on different meats, melon, cheeses, migas (a bread-type of food. I find this comparable to stuffing, but its still very different), chicken in an almond sauce, and fried milk for dessert (kind of like a lump of more solid rice pudding covered in sugar and cinnamon). There was wine and beer and holiday cheer and I laughed to myself about how this would never happen in an elementary school in the U.S.A.

After eating, we broke out the first grader’s tambourines and sang Christmas carols (all in Spanish, so I smiled and swayed). It felt like something that only would have happened in a movie. Loved every minute of it.

Getting excited for my family to come next week! Merry Christmas, everyone! Christmas lights pictures of Granada to come…


Apartment Photos and First Day of Work

Cutie host parents in Sevilla. 🙂

Host parents with Enrique

I thought I’d start including pictures in my posts. The photos above, as captioned, were taken before I left my host family in Sevilla. Aren’t they adorable?

Below, are photos of my new apartment. It’s not glamorous. Just a warning.

My little table, lamp, and "closet." Also note the lovely tapestry that I got at a discount for being a "simpatica chica."

My bed. I could have, for the purpose of this photo, made my bed. However, I was feeling lazy. Forgive me. My sheets are orange and feel like a tablecloth. I don't think they believe in thread counts here.

My bookshelf, adorned with birthday cards!

My dresser and bulletin board

Our balcony. I enjoy sitting out here. Also, note our "dryer."

The view from our balcony. Stunning, isn't it?

So there you are. A visual of my current life.

I started my job last Friday, and I think that I am really going to like it. Every teacher at my school is incredibly nice…my first day was full of besos! They all tell me that my Spanish is awesome, which I know is an utter lie, but it’s still encouraging to hear. I only work Tuesday-Friday in the mornings (it’s a rough life…).

I get the opportunity to work in a bunch of different classes with many different grades, which makes me happy. The youngest class I’m in is pre-school (5 year olds) and I make the rounds in other classes up to 5th grade, as well as teaching some of the professors English.

While my first day was mostly administrative, I did get to work with one class. They were completing activities in their English workbooks. I’m not exactly sure who is writing these books, but its certainly not a native speaker of English.

Allow me to illustrate:

Directions: Unscramble the words to form a question.

Words: class in are you 5 ?

What do you think the correct answer to this would be?

“Are you in class 5?”

“Are you in 5 class?”

“Are you 5 in class?”

Naturally, the teacher asked me, since I’m the English authority, but I was unhelpful considering that the exercise made no sense.

I’m super excited to start preparing lessons and working with the students. This doesn’t even really feel like work!

Now, I’m headed to the fruteria for some fresh produce. Hasta luego!

Besos y abrazos.

p.s.– coming soon…photos of Granada.