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6 posts categorized "Madi Bautista"

A Few of My Favorite Things

Welp. It's the end of the semester and somehow we are all still alive. In the last two-ish months teaching I have learned an incredible amount of random things. From new words in Spanish to actually learning about the tenses we have in English it seems like I am the student again.  Here are a few of my favorite things from this last semester at my high school.

1. When the students ask me (or any of the Auxiliars) to speak in Spanish. They try to trick you while you are in class by asking you (mostly productive or questions regarding how to say a word) in Spanish and you can always respond in English. Then when they try and just chat with you in Spanish and you pretend you have no clue what they are saying so that way they work on English. They hate it. I love it. Sometimes I will say one or two words in the hallway or outside just because the excitement they get from even saying hola make you smile every single time.

2. The students asking you all kinds of questions about everything. They love to know about who you are and what you are doing. They also love to know more about specific subjects. I am in a biology class and some of the students stayed late just to learn more about red-blood cells and how you can tell when they look right or wrong in a microscope. Luckily I have a degree in that so I was able to explain more.

3. The other teachers. Some of them only know about 6 words in English, but boy will they show you. They always want to chat and even if they can only say hello, they still will always say hello and then they start talking in Spanish. 

4. The fact that I am learning just as much as they are. The other day we learned about the dfferent conditional tenses and I didn't even know we had 3 different ones in the English language. 

5. The students as a whole. They are fantastic. Some have drawing of dinosaurs that they just have to show you so that way they can talk to you and then show you all the facts they have learned about it as well. They will show you new tricks they learned. Some of them will go out of their way to tell you they like your dress you are wearing. All of them love to laugh with you and even if you have totally distracted them from the topic and are trying not to completely derail the class they love to just laugh with you. You can be silly and have a good time and somehow still get work done. Half the time they work harder just so they can finish their work and talk to you.

This semester has been a great one and I am so excited to get back in January.

How is Tomorrow December?

If tomorrow is December that means I have been in Spain for over 3 months. How? 101 days? I don't believe it. In all of those days I have learned an incredible amount about everything. From the differences between Spain Spanish and Spanish we learned in high school, to new customs, and some new recipes. 

This month alone has been filled with adventures in and out of the school. On Monday I went on a field trip with the students to Navacerrada to go hiking in the mountains. The best part is that even if we are walking down a mountain side there are still things to teach about. That day happened to have some forest service workers doing controlled burns and we taught the students why that was important. They didn't think they were going to learn any thing on a gym class field trip, but I disagreed with them. Outside of school the weekend adventures have continued and will continue next week as I travel to Southern Spain for the "Puente" (no school Wed-Fri).

The weather has finally started to cool off. I haven't really needed a jacket until this last week but I am thankful the cold is finally here because walking around in shorts on the weekends really doesn't say December to me. I may be slightly biased growing up in Colorado and going to school in Montana but the cold feels great. The auxilar at my school from Florida thinks I am crazy.  

Update from Thanksgiving: I broke the oven my turkey was so large (but we fixed it) and the neighbors came dressed in overalls /flannel/cowboy hats and boots to be super Americans for the day. All in all it worked out and the turkey was perfect. IMG_20171128_170225_971

Photo is from the hike on Tuesday.

Thanksgiving from 5000 miles away.

It's Thanksgiving back home but here in Spain it's just another work day. With my 1ESO (7th grade) students we talked about some of the history and traditions that go along with Thanksgiving so I had them all share something they are thankful for. My favorite one by far was "I'm thank you for me because I like me and school." which roughly translates to "I am thankful for my life and the fact that I am at a great school." They have not been learning English as long but they try their best and that's what counts.

I may have moved half way around the world but that doesn't mean I won't still cook a turkey dinner. A small Thanksgiving here has turned into 13 people coming and none of them have ever had a Thanksgiving meal so it's up to me to pull this off. Everything that you can so easily get in the US does not exist here. Making pumpkin pie for example has shown to be quite the task. At home I could have just bought a can of pumpkin pie filling and called it a day, but now I have to wander through the city looking for something that I can turn into pumpkin pie. 6 stops later, I have all the ingredients. The next problem is finding a turkey. They don't just sell them at the supermarket, so you have to go to the butcher shop, but they don't readily keep whole turkeys on hand, so you have to order one ahead of time. Seems easy until you ask for an 8 kilo (about 18 lbs.) turkey and the butcher looks at you like you are insane. They question your ability to speak Spanish and if you know what you mean when you say whole turkey. Once you have the turkey you have to hope that it will actually fit in your oven because every appliance is smaller outside the US. That's for tomorrow though. For now I have one fresh baked pie ready for eating and the rest will hopefully fall into place tomorrow.

Exploring the Country

Every weekend we have a three day weekend and what better way to spend the extra day off than traveling. Some times just a day trip will suffice, and some times you can take your long weekends to travel further.  Even if the weather is awful, it is still good enough to travel. The best part about exploring is being at the top of the city and looking out at the whole city center as if you were in a movie.


Photo- Salamanca 22728796_1867405686633171_7708892017542006050_n

All the Warnings are True

It's the start to week four in the schools and so far this experience has been amazing. School is so different in Spain compared to America and no single person, website, or article can prepare you for that. Everyone warns you the students talk a lot and you think they are exaggerating but as you stand in front of the class with eight students yelling your name, six more talking to their best friend across the classroom, 7 just talking to themselves because they can, and the other nine shushing each other, you realize the warnings are so true it isn't funny.

Despite the fact that they love to talk, you also learn that these students actually want to learn, but the trick is to make it so different they get hooked.  My class of 4ESO (10th grade) think they are too cool for school. The same two kids answer questions every single day and the rest just make annoying noises and try to sleep in class. As we are about to begin a new book, we wanted to introduce the Salem Witch Trials since our book is based on that. I knew if I gave a presentation they would ignore me and I would just be wasting everyone's time. I needed something different. I needed something new, something they don't really do in any other class. Obviously I needed to turn this into a competition somehow.

How do you turn your new book about the Salem Witch Trials into a competition? Answer- basketball. I gave them a paper on the basic history and a basketball. I'd ask a question from the paper, they had to find the answer and shoot a basket in order to answer the question. Most points at the end wins. For an added challenge I split the class into two teams but one team a 3 students the other has 17 students. Seems unfair right? That's the point. The two kids who are always answering questions and the one kid who I know knows every answer in class but wants to remain cool so they never answer. I placed my bets on the 3 kids winning (I was right) but the 17 students were close. This was the first time they all talked in class. They all were reading the text to find the answer. They were all participating for the first time all semester. Even the ones who didn't care were paying attention.

Now I need to come up with more create ways to get information to stick with these students.

Making My Way to Spain

In August last year you could have asked me what my plans were for after graduation, and I would have told you an internship at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda. Well that didn't happen, and now I'm sitting here in Madrid. As of April I had not yet decided on any plans after graduation and May 6th was quickly approaching. I was talking to my Spanish professor one day and she said I should look into teaching abroad. 3 hours later I was filling out an application to teach abroad in Madrid. As I sit here drinking my morning coffee looking at the streets of the Salamanca barrio I realize how thankful I was that my professor told me to go abroad for the year.

The last 2 weeks have been an awesome experience for learning about Spain. The first 4 days were filled with lots of paperwork, but also lots of exploring. We went to a flamenco show the first full day we were here and it was AMAZING. You could see the music running through the dancers from their toes to their fingers. Everything was so fluid and improvised in a way that almost seemed rehearsed. Others were surprised that it was mostly improvised, but I knew that they were talking to each other on stage and playing off all the energy between each other and the crowd. If you are ever in Madrid looking for something to do, go to a flamenco show.

Our host is a nice lady. She was a historian back in the day, but is retired now. She has traveled 
to the United States and lived in California and Miami for a number of years. Because she knows English and Spanish she is super helpful for learning because when we don't know a word she can teach us. A couple days ago  we gained a study abroad student from Nairobi, so now there are 3 exchange students ( 2 from CIEE and the new one) and a whole lot of learning about the differences between all the places.




Pictured is the Royal Palace of Madrid, which we visited while exploring the city the first few days here.



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