I haven't talked about my internship yet and I wanted to for those future students doing the same program and have the option. DO IT! It was so rewarding.
If you are debating, I highly recommend it .
I worked as a teacher's assistant in a local school that had elementary through middle school kids. I personally worked with 10/11/12 year olds either in their English class, or their 'citizenship class' that was taught in English. The citizenship class covered various topics from global warming, to world geography and culture. Monday and Tuesday I interned from 2:45pm-5:00pm.
Side note... The way the schools are here, kids go to school in the morning around 9, work until lunch and go home for lunch. Spain is known to shut down in the middle of the day for 'la siesta.' Most stores close, kids go home from school, parents go home from work etc. They eat lunch - which is the biggest meal of the day, and rest a bit. After siesta, they return to work or school until 5pm and between 7-9pm respectively.
I would go to the school as kids were getting dropped back off after lunch at 2:45. Half of the time I was in the 5th grade English class. There I helped correct test answered aloud in class, read of English spelling words, and practiced conversation with the kids individually in the tutoring room. The same went for the 6th graders in citizenship class. Most of the time, I read individually with me and practiced for their oral English 'state exam.'
The first day of school I was introduced as a native speaker that was going to be helping in the classroom. The teacher said I was from the USA and all the kids got really excited . Then the teacher said I was from California. They were soooo excited, squirmy and raised theirs hands to ask me questions. The were fascinated with the fact I was from California. Of course, I was asked if I lived in Hollywood or if I ever met any famous people. Then they liked to ask my favorite color, favorite animal, if I played futbol (soccer), how old I was, and how many siblings I had.
Everyday I went, they were so excited to see me and anxious to come talk to me. Since I was there until the end of their school day, I waited with the teacher as classes ended and said goodbye. After the teacher dismissed them, the kids (both boys and girls) would line up to get kisses from her before leaving to the courtyard.
Another side note... The spanish are very physical. In conversation, they talk very close to you, touch you and always say hello and goodbye with two kisses- one on each cheek. This goes for teachers too. Because of this aspect of their culture, the teachers hug and kiss and coddle and love on their students. They aren't worried (like americans are) about others touching their kids (obviously not a creepy way..) but its expected that a teacher hug and kiss students or hold/coddle them if they are hurt or sad)
Only after two or three weeks, the kids would line up to get kisses from their teacher and because I was standing right next to her, then want kisses from me. This kind of relationship is the kind you would have in the states when you babysit kids for years: you hug them and kiss them like your own family. But this was right away. I loved it because it made you feel really connected to the kids.
After they were dismissed, some would walk me through the courtyard, try to practice talking to me in English and give me more hugs before leaving the school. Even out of the streets with their parents, they would say hello and come get a hug and kiss form me. And for the parents, it's no problem. It is expected that everyone loves kids in Spain and because of this, parents aren't as paranoid. There is an expectation that they are loved and protected by everyone.
I feel like I got an insight into the culture of kids, families and schools in Spain.
Something that was interesting for me to see was the family dynamics. Fathers are very involved in Spain. I saw more fathers picking up their kids (without the mothers) than in the States. In my opinion, fathers seem more comfortable caring for the kids on their own. Child rearing is not as heavily emphasized on mothers as it is in the states. Also, many grandparents picked kids up from school. Grandparents are more involved with family and taking care of younger kids than in the states. Babysitters are rare in Spain, they rely on other members of the family to help care for the kids.
This aspect of the culture is something I will bring back and hope to incorporate in my family. I'd like the father of my children and my parents (their grandparents) to be very involved.
At the same time, kids don't move out of their parents house until much later in like... when they get married. Kids live with their parents until late 20s. They dynamics in the states is to move out early, be ambitious and establish yourself/your career early. I also think this is important and this the push to be independent in the states is important. I hope to incorporate aspects of the family structure and culture from spain with those from the US I think are important too.
I plan to write a whole blog about the aspect of spain that I will take back but I'll save that for the end.
To keep you all interested! :)
Ok back to the internship.
On the last day of school, all the kids were so sad to see me go. They all signed a card saying they loved me, they will miss me etc (often in broken English which was probably the cutest part)
ex: I will mish you :) It was hard to say bye and took me twice as long to leave the school as usual - probably because all the kids wanted multiple hugs and kisses lol
The internship overall was a great experience. I really felt like I made a difference in the time I spent with the kids and they appreciated having me there. It was a great insight into some spanish culture first hand and see them excited to speak English with... A Californian! haha
Unfortunately I couldn't take any pictures with the kids. There is a issue of privacy but I can promise you they were friggen cute!
But more pictures, less writing next time.