Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Back to Work!

Hello again! Sorry it's taken so long for me to start writing again; once you get out of the habit, it's hard to get back into it again!

I went back to work on January 11th, and after only 3 weeks back in the UK I have to admit I was *not* ready to work again- whose stupid idea was it to start the school day at 8.35?! January passed me by quite slowly, because there isn't much going on, and once you've covered the whole "Soooo....how was your Christmas? What did the 3 Kings bring you?" lesson, you really have to think of actual things to do! (Nb. For Spanish kids, it's the 3 Kings who bring their gifts rather than Santa Claus, so they get a 'Santa present' at Christmas, but have the majority of presents on the 6th January!)
The teacher I worked with retired before Christmas, but luckily her replacement was lovely; I think she was as glad of the company and help as I was, since it was her first week there, and she also offered to give me lifts to and from school throughout the month as well so I had a chance to converse more in Spanish with her in the car every morning, which of course is always good!
The last week of January was my last week in 'La Iglesia' (The building where kids aged 11-14 are taught) so I gave a somewhat rushed lesson on Burns Night in a bid to leave them with something more interesting that prepositions and the present continuous. Mind you, saying that, they did find it pretty funny when I spent part of the lesson stood on a chair or sat under the table to get them to practice "She is standing on the chair" "She is sitting under the table" etc. 
The Burns Night lesson worked better with some than others; I got them to find words such as 'sheep' and 'stomach', and then watched in amusement as they realised what 'Haggis' meant, and also got them to watch a couple of Scottish dances. With the nice ones, this was relatively simple and they told me about similar Asturian traditions such as the bagpipes and dancing, I won't go into how bad my bad classes were!!!

La Iglesia (church) opposite my school at sunrise
The weekend in between finishing at one building and starting in the other, was incredibly lazy, as I had no preparation to do for the following week; I'd introduce myself and do whatever the teacher had planned. However, on the Sunday I went to Avilés again to see a friend, and we had lunch in the cutest cafe I have ever seen. Crossed between a French patisserie, English tearoom and Spanish coffee bar, it was the nicest place I've visited in a long time! We probably should have had tapas or something, but I was so happy to be seeing 'lunch food' (i.e, not a full cooked meal as is the norm) on the menu that I was soon tucking into the most delicious smoked salmon/cream cheese bagel I have ever had. Not wanting to be too un-Spanish though, I did of course have a cafe con leche afterwards!

How adorable.

I was initially confused by the fake apple tree, yes.

Also love that when you order a drink, you automatically get given a small 'pincho' to eat as well!
Afterwards, we wandered around the town for a bit, walking across the river to a gallery (unfortunately closed) where we also found what looked like the beginnings of one those bridges where couples write their names on a padlock and fix it to the railings- cute!

Pretty rainbow bridge in Avilés
 And also a pretty church I couldn't resist taking a photo of, which oddly enough seems to be dedicated to Thomas Beckett of Canterbury!?
Iglesia de Santo Tomas de Canterbury (Yep, Thomas Beckett!)
My first week with the older students was both fantastic and strange. Fantastic because the students were mostly old enough now that they don't act like children, so they were *much* easier and nicer to talk to, as well as being able to understand and speak more English. Strange, because I am in some classes where a few of the students are actually older than myself!! There seems to be a sort of college, for want of a better word, taught at the school, for students aged 19-23, who may or may not have been to university, which is for courses on 'Electricity' and 'Automotives'  and they have to do a certain amount of English as well. I will obviously try my best with these classes, but I fear I am largely lacking when it comes to talking about cars or circuit boards.
The first time you meet a new class is usually fun though, as they have to ask you questions about yourself or your country/culture, although I have to admit it would be a lot easier if I had a favourite football team or played sports! I tend to get asked "Do you have pets?" which is then followed by smiles and 'awwwww' when I show them photos of Marmalade, Princess and Tetley; "Do you like Spanish food?" (haha, they think I can cook) 
However, with age comes opinion, and there's always that one student that asks my opinion on something genuinely important, like "Do you think the UK will join the EU?" (What? You think I know what's going on!?) or "I think UK schools are discriminatory for having 'sets' instead of having everyone together" (Oh...well, sorry...I erm...disagree?) which means I have to think pretty hard before I speak in case they take it the wrong way! Some of the younger classes I have are studying technology at the moment though, so I've been asked to maybe teach them some 'text speak', which should be pretty fun! 

It was Carnaval this weekend too, but the Oviedo party isn't until next Saturday, so hopefully I'll have more to tell you about that next time! 
Wow, this seems to have been pretty long, that's what happens when you let work build up and love procrastinating!!
Until next time- hasta luego xxx