COMPARING MY FIRST AND SECOND YEARS TEACHING IN SPAIN

Authored by:
Jay T.

Jay T.

I am only a couple months into the new academic year and there have already been some stark differences between the two years. Thankfully, those differences have all been for the better. Last year was great, but this one is already starting to look like it will be better.

New mural for the 25th anniversary of the school.
New mural celebrating the 25th anniversary of the school serving the community. 

I’M BACK BABY!

Last spring, I decided to return to the same school to teach one more year. It felt good to walk through the hallways and say hello to all the students and faculty from the year before. My students were excited in May when I told them I planned to return in October but there were even more stoked when they saw me in person. Talk about feeling like a rock star, baby. That first week had a completely different feeling from the first week of the last year. Instead of walking around with a bit of anxiousness, this time my step was with much more comfort.

IMPROVED LEVEL OF ENGLISH

Because it was my second year at the school, many of my students were excited to tell me how they had practiced English over the summer – some went to English speaking camps, some watched TV or films in English and many listened to music in English. The first couple weeks of hearing all this was awesome and definitely not something I could have experienced during my first year.

THE FRIENDLINESS OF FAMILIARITY

The biggest advantage of coming into school this year was having familiarity of the building, schedule, teachers, students and pueblo. There was no anxiousness about getting lost looking for each classroom or who I needed to talk to about anything crazy that came up. After just one year at the school, I felt like an expert and when I met the 30+ new teachers I could help them with certain questions they had during the first few weeks.

NEW STUDENTS

It was fun to meet an entirely new group of students who just graduated from primary school and were beginning their secondary school journey. The 11 and 12-year-old students in the first course bring a special kind of energy that the older courses lack. They still have that primary school-aged excitement and are not “too cool for school” just yet. Impressively, the English level of this year’s group was already pretty high, which I like to think is a result of the bilingual program and the 5-6 years of exposure they’ve had to a native-speaking English assistant.

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It was because I had such a fun, successful first year of teaching that I decided to come back and do it again. No day, week or month is ever the same and there will always be some differences but that is what it makes it exciting. I appreciate the old but am openly embracing the new.

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