Monday, May 21, 2012

Badger Blogging Blitz: Day 1

I'm now realizing, after announcing to write about what I do every day this week, that my wake up time today is going to be embarrassing.  My sleeping schedule kind of got messed up this weekend, and since I don't work until the afternoon on Mondays, I take advantage of being able to sleep in!  (And I stayed up too late last night...)

10:45 - My alarm went off.  At some point I went back to sleep.

11:35 - Second alarm went off.  Wait, second alarm?  When did I set this?

12:32 - Finally got out of bed and took a shower.  Yawning lots; why am I tired??

13:03 - A friend called on G+, and we talked until I had about ten minutes to leave for work.

13:51 - Head to the kitchen and eat a quick lunch of gazpacho and a tuna empañada. 

14:04 - Left the house and walked to the metro, on my way to my Mon/Thurs school.

14.38 - I arrive at my Mon/Thurs school and head to the library where I worked on writing the exam that I'm giving to my Thursday morning class this week.

La biblioteca (the library)

The computer I work at

14.45 - A math teacher comes into the library and asks if it's okay if her class comes in there.  For now it's just she and one other student.

16:44 - I finish writing the exam, so I go across the hall into the teacher's lounge to print it.  Turn on computer.

16:46 - Computer still turning on; can't click anything on the desktop yet.  This computer is so old!

16:47 - My flash drive finally pops up as a folder on screen.  I double click on the Word document.

16:48 - Microsoft Word begins to open.  I start doing powers of 2 in my head to pass the time: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024...

16:49 - Finally get the document open.  File - print.  Document does not print.  I check the printer, and to my surprise see that they've gotten a new one since I've last been in there.  (Which is a while, because there was always something wrong with the old printer.  For the last couple of months I've just been printing at my Tues/Weds school)

16.52 - I don't find anything wrong with the printer, so I go back into the library to ask the math teacher if we have to print from the other computer or something.  There are now about six students in the library with her.  She says that yes, now we have to print from the computer sitting next to the printer.  It looks super old (I've never used it) and apparently only runs linux.

16.53 - I plug my flash drive into the old computer and open my document.  File - print.  Document does not print.

16.54 - I open up the printer and see my document in the queue.  Status column says "processing".

17:08 - Headed back to the library empty handed.  I'll print the exam at my Tues/Weds school sometime this week.  I spent the rest of my time preparing activities for Rodrigo's private lesson tonight.

17.36 - The math teacher says something to her students about class tomorrow, and they say they're not coming tomorrow.  Why not? she asks.  "Mañana es huelga," they respond.  (There's a strike tomorrow).  Good to know; I won't worry so much about having something prepared for my class tomorrow at the Tues/Weds school because if there's a strike, it's probable that not many students will show up.

18:10 - The bell rings and I pack up my things.

18:12 - I run into the English teacher on my way out (was going to stop in her office to say bye anyway), and when I told her I'd finished the exam for Thursday she told me that the boys were going on some field trip this Thursday, so no class.  We'll push the exam back to the following week, she says. So I don't have to come on Thursday if I don't want to...

18:30 - I come out of my metro and head to the nearby alimentación shop to get some gum for my 9-year-old student Rodrigo.  His birthday was yesterday, and we have class tonight, so I made him a card and wanted to give him a little something with it.  He loves gum.  I hope his mother doesn't mind.

My chino - alimentaciones

18:38 - I reach my apartment on the fourth floor and heat up some leftovers as an afternoon snack.  Open the computer. Check emails, facebook, twitter.  Start blogging my day thus far.

19:14 - I leave my apartment to walk to Rodrigo's apartment.

19:30 - English class starts.  I give Rodrigo his card and gum.

19.35 - After he shows me the box to his MP5 player that he got for his birthday, I ask Rodrigo "So how old are you now?"  And he responds, "I'm fine, and you?"  English students here get "How are you?  I'm fine, and you?" drilled into their heads so much that they'll often respond with "I'm fine" when you ask them something else.

20.29 - My alarm goes off and I pack up my things.

20.30 - His mother comes out to pay me.  She asks Rodrigo why he was chewing gum during English class.  Oops...

20.32 - I leave the apartment building and walk home.

20.47 - I arrive home and grab a snack.  I'll be in for the night at this point.  I start blogging, emailing, reading blogs, and chatting with some friends.

Questions - Day 1

1. What has been your most surreal experience thus far in Madrid?  Without putting too much thought into this question, I'd probably say being a part of my ultimate frisbee team and playing in tournaments with so many international players/teams has been the most surreal experience thus far.  I'm talking about playing in the hat tournament in the Canary Islands, or the G-Spot tournament in Belgium the other weekend, for example.  Why is this so surreal to me?

I am not an athletic person.  As a child, gym class was something I feared rather than enjoyed.  Skills tests were the worst, as was picking teams.  My siblings and I have just always had it in our brains: "We are not athletic. We are not good at sports."  My first school sports team I was ever on was Cross Country my senior year of high school (that's the last year, Hannah).  That same year is when I was first introduced to ultimate.  I have undoubtedly improved since then, especially with all of our practices and direction from teammates I've received this year, but I'm still not great.  Maybe average.  But since ultimate still isn't well-known in Spain, I'm able to play with the Quijotes.  Ultimate is a lot more popular in the United States, so the level is a lot higher.  I would never make it on to an ultimate team in the states that travels to competitions.  But here in Madrid, I'm on a team that regularly has tournaments throughout Spain, and some in Europe.  If you would have told me five years ago that I'd be playing on an ultimate frisbee team in Madrid and traveling to tournaments, I wouldn't have believed it.  Hence, this is surreal to me.

2. What would you tell yourself before you got on the plane in Chicago, given your experience so far? If I hadn't left for Chicago yet, I would have told myself to leave my yoga mat at home and take my cleats with me instead!  Umm, I mostly knew what I was getting into as far as the city goes, since I had already spent a year living in Madrid as a student.  I guess I might tell myself not to have such high hopes for my teaching job.  This past summer I had envisioned engaging, creative lesson plans and playing games/doing activities that I've done in my past Spanish and French classes.  I had even though about setting up a pen pal exchange with some of my mom's students, or with students in a Spanish class at my home town's middle or high school (depending on the age of my Spanish students).

But I quickly learned that in this program, you are not the teacher; you are the auxiliar (assistant).  What you will be doing as an auxiliar depends greatly on what school you're placed in.  This year was the first year that both of my schools have had an auxiliar, so they weren't really sure what to do with me at the beginning.  There have been many-a-times when I've felt underused, wasted, or powerless.  (But that's not true for all; I've got friends who are auxiliares and they are overworked and taken advantage of.  Like I said, it completely depends on your school)

I wasn't a fan of the Spanish education system after attending university here for a year, and teaching in the public schools this year has only strengthened that feeling.  This whole answer is becoming longer than I'd imagined, so I'll try to bring it back:  I would have told myself that the English classes I'd be assisting in are nothing like my Spanish and French classes that I've had in the states.  The classes I'd be assisting in aren't engaging, they're heavily textbook-based, and games/partner activities are unheard of.  Again, this is just at my two schools; I'm not saying this is how it is in the whole city/country.  But it would have been nice to know ahead of time, just so I wouldn't have been so disappointed.

For now I'll keep using the daily questions that were used in the South Korea English teachers' Badger Blogging Blitz, but if you have a question you'd like answered this week, leave a comment!

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