So, I have officially finished my first full week working in SEK-Santa Isabel and boy am I exhausted!
It has been a week filled with ups and downs, however being screamed at by a 4-year-old was quite possibly my favourite moment so far. She insisted on being first in the line to go down for lunch and I told her that she wasn’t allowed to because she wasn’t this week’s ‘class helper’. This resulted in her getting very angry and she attempted to drag said class helper out of the line. I told her that she needed to behave herself and that what she was doing was unacceptable etc. etc. and she decided the best response was to scream “CÁLLATE” (shut up) six times in a row at me. Another teacher then realised what was happening, and dragged the little girl around the corner and told her to stop being so disrespectful and that she can’t behave like that.
Afterwards, I was informed that I needed to learn to ‘stand up for myself more’. Teaching in Spain is completely different to teaching in the UK. Here it is completely acceptable to give a child hugs and kisses when they are sad, lift them up when they want to play, tickle them, or even grab them when they need disciplined. Back in the UK however, you can’t even put a plaster on a child anymore and physical contact is a complete no-no.
Other than that little mishap, school has been great this week and I feel like I am starting to make real connections with the children. I am never addressed with my name…mostly because none of them can say it. I either get “PROFE” (teacher) guldered at me from across the room, a tug on my shirt/dress or a few of the children from one of the classes are fascinated with singing CAT-A-LINAAAA to get my attention. Anna, Molly and I are settling well into our school routines but at times, teaching gets slightly monotonous because at this stage, a lot of the teaching is done through structured play. I have played with every single toy in the three classrooms for 4-year-old and I’ve eaten so much toy food this last week. I was unsure about the benefits of learning through playing but the children are picking up so many new words already. It is very rewarding to see.
On Sunday, I went to an incredible church and as soon as I entered, I got such a warm feeling inside. It is a multi-generational church like my own back in Belfast, but also has plenty of young people. On Tuesday evening, I attended the church’s Young Adults group. There were about 30 young people there in total from all over the world, from China and Colombia to Australia and the United States, but everyone there spoke Spanish so it was the perfect way to practice. At the youth group, we were informed that there was going to be a Young Adults BBQ on Saturday evening, I am going to that this evening and I’m very excited!
What else has happened this week? Our boiler broke so we didn’t have hot water for two days. So yesterday evening I got fed up and attempted to decipher the Spanish manual and with the help of a YouTube video, I managed to fix it – success!! Our bathroom sink has been leaking since we arrived and we are still without Wi-Fi after almost two weeks. A nice man just arrived about 30 minutes ago to install our Wi-Fi but due to a number of complications, he has to come back on Monday so I am now down to my last few hundred megabytes of data left on my phone with a week to go (HELP!!)
Life in Madrid is still wonderful. I’m loving every single second of my newfound independence and I can’t wait for the adventures that are still to come.
“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”