Until I started work last Monday it really did feel like we were on holiday. Even though we were renting an apartment and going to the police station to complete paperwork, we were in the sun, seeing a new city and wearing shorts all the time. That's a holiday in my book.
Well it may still be hot enough to wear shorts every day but I certainly do not feel like I'm on holiday any more.
The first week at school was relatively easy. I just had to sort through the mountain of stuff that was still in my classroom and get it ready for my new lot. Easy. Then Friday rolled around. The first day of school. I was incredibly nervous and hardly slept at the prospect of meeting my first class but it passed quite enjoyably really. The joy of reception teaching is that the children learn through play and you have a fairly relaxed start to the year, observing them play and getting to know them.
The children themselves seemed lovely, but didn't speak much English. Understandable really, as they had a 2 month summer break and most would only have spoken/been spoken to in Spanish in that time. I could see they were very chatty though, not just to me but amongst each other. I had been warned about this. "Spanish children aren't like English children" everybody told me. "How different can they be?" I thought.
Well this week has definitely shown me. As lovely as the children can be, I have spent much of this week thinking "why won't you just be flipping quiet for 5 minutes?!" I ended up in a thoroughly bad mood on Wednesday evening about it, stressed by my inability to quieten them down without raising my voice. I never raised my voice last year when I worked at Woodlands. Not once. I did however at my second school placement but that made me feel incredibly guilty and like I had failed because I don't think children should be shouted at. However when 20 children (I know, small class) are all talking at the top of their voices, there is no other way to make myself heard.
I moped a bit, and I worried that I wasn't cut out for it. I mainly missed my class from last year though and that didn't get me anywhere. By Thursday after though I had a plan. And by plan I mean I had names to stick on the mat they sit on (put your bottom on your name and don't move is working pretty well) and I had a whistle to blow to get their attention. Friday was therefore a much smoother day. At no point did I feel like my head was going to explode, and I felt far more in control.
I still have a lot to do to get my class into good routines. They start school younger and so some of my new reception class aren't 4 until December. The difference in maturity is noticeable and it's something that will take me time to get used to having taught far older children last year.
I fully intend to make the most of the weekend though to recharge my batteries and make the most of the continuing amazing weather. I managed after work drinks and a late dinner (most of the restaurants here don't open til after 8 and get busy til after 10 which can be difficult on a Friday) before enjoying the best lie in ever this morning.
I hope to have another post soon as we're planning to go to a tapas fair tonight. Life in Spain is really very good indeed.