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Day to Day Activities at School

    I have officially worked five weeks at IES Jorge Santayana in Avila, Spain and would like to share with you a few differences in the Spanish education system compared to the U.S.  The student population we serve is 14-18 and then there are two other vocational programs that include cooking and tourism.  I teach in all of the classes from 14 year olds to older students in the vocational studies programs in cooking and tourism. The Spanish children are placed in classes which they do not leave all day.  The teachers each have a department assigned by subject and they travel from class to class instead of the students.  School is from 9-3 and there is a thirty minute coffee break from 11:40 to 12:10 pm.  Coffee break is a great way to meet teachers, practice your Spanish, and make friends!  I work specifically in the English department and go from class to class with the four different English teachers at various periods throughout the day.  

    I am not required to prepare any lessons or grade any papers, but they do enjoy having me explain certain topics of American culture including, the economy, politics, education, diversity.  I love educating people on the fabric of America and how we as a country can move forward in a positive direction and the students seem to be very responsive to many of these topics.  In other classes we do speaking exercises in English so the students can practice speaking English which is extremely important.  I also had the students participate in some pronunciation practice since this is an area that stood to be improved as well.  

    In another class I created a power point presentation on New York City (NYC) and not only did I learn so many things about NYC, but I also had a great time delivering the information to my students.  They were interested and enjoyed learning about NYC and all the things that made this city unique.  It was a bit difficult explaining the 9/11 attacks, but provided some insight about terrorism and gave a flashback on the earlier rise of terrorism.  Now, sometimes the students are talkative and you simply have to be patient and look to the other teacher for support in keeping a positive learning environment.  Overall the students are nice and respectful, it just depends what grade level you teach and if you happen to get some talkative groups.  Overall, they are not bad students.  They are simply interested and full of energy.

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