¡Hola a todos!
First, let me just say… HAPPY FRIDAY!
Not only is it 3 days until Hanukkah and 5 days until Christmas, but it's officially winter break for all public schools en La Comunidad de Madrid. That's right, since arriving in Madrid in late August, I have been tackling challenge after challenge, and have finally completed three months of working as an Aux at my school in Valdezarza.
I apologize for not writing sooner, but so much has been going on lately. Since the Thanksgiving celebrations, it has been non-stop preparations for the upcoming holiday season. Bear with me, but this is going to be a longer blog post than usual in order to really review and dissect my last three months here in Madrid.
Taking a moment to reflect on my experiences thus far, I have loved my school, my coworkers, my roommates, and all of the friends I have met along the way. While October was the “trial” month full of nerves and self-doubt about whether I’d be a great teacher, I have no more doubts and am glad that I lucked out with an incredible school full of incredible kids. Everyday, I’m taking on new responsibilities and doing the job that I came across an ocean, and went through an entire application and visa process for.
November has been the “segway” month. That awkward stage in the middle where you aren’t the “new” teacher anymore, but you still need to learn the ropes when it came to celebrating the holiday season. I really enjoyed getting to know the other teachers at the “Día del Maestro/a” (Teacher’s Appreciation Day). My biggest role for the bilingual program was during this past November. From November 25th-28th, I had prepared and presented to the students about Thanksgiving in America. Not only did I plan a 20-25 minute lesson on my own, but additionally I was helping each grade prepare for their Thanksgiving performances.
Whether it was a play, a song, or an acrostic poem, the Thanksgiving celebration was fantastic, and the kids had a lot of fun. In my presentation, I introduced the topic with simplified historical origins, and then discussed the modern American Thanksgiving. When I say modern Thanksgiving, what I mean is how Thanksgiving is celebrated now. So, I talked about Thanksgiving traditions like that feast, and then how we celebrate it where I’m from, in New York. The kids were very interested in the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the giant balloons, black friday, and then the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony that opens the holiday season. In a final activity I asked students to say something that they were thankful for, and then that was it. While it was weird celebrating Thanksgiving in Madrid, I think I really taught them something about Thanksgiving in the United States.
… AND NOW ON TO DECEMBER
Ooof, let me just start by saying the beginning of December has not been the kindest to me. This has truly been the "coldest" month so far. In addition to being sick for a long time, it has been almost non-stop rain, wind, and cold chills. Every morning this month, (even though the month has gone by quickly), I’ve felt that my morning commute to work was getting longer, and it was getting harder for me to wake up at 7:30 every morning despite going to bed around 23:00 (11PM) the latest. Although this month started on a negative note, this past week has been fantastic. While the whole school was preparing for the Christmas Celebration for parents, I was helping out a teacher by preparing some students for their homework over the break to make it easier for them.
On the day of the Christmas Concert, the entire first hour and half was dedicated to parents so they could see their children perform on a stage in front of an audience to christmas songs. The next hour and a half were so the whole school could see the performances. While half of the songs were in English and the other half in Spanish, all the performances were centered around the theme of the environment. For the infantíl, every performance was adorable and their costumes were quite spectacular. For the primaría students, their performances were strong and powerful, since each one had a message to the public. I think my favorite was the fourth grade, who were all dressed up in blue to symbolize the ocean, and they used plastic bags and flashlights as their props to convey the message of stop polluting our oceans. It was quite amazing to watch, and it was to the song of “Marte” by Melani (a Eurovision Junior Winner). I am so glad I could be apart of the DVD school community. Finally, this afternoon, Friday, December 20th, the last day of school before 2020, we had the “Santa Race”. The whole school including the teachers wore santa and elf hats, and ran a lap or two around the entire school. This of course included the ramps and two sets of stairs. I have never been so out of breath, but it wasn't just me. By the end of the race so many kids were lying on the ground laughing, and smiling out of breath from sprinting so fast because they wanted to win. Not only was it great exercise, but the kids love it, and love watching the teachers run too.
Lastly, I am almost finished with the CIEE TEFL Course, it has gotten easier now that I'm in my routine, but I have the FGA and the four parts of the final exam coming up over the holiday, so my break will be quite busy as I'm going home to New York, and have to still do some studying. Wish me luck friends.
That’s all for now! I will write you next year ;) (aka next month)
¡Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo Chic@s!