Category Archives: teaching

In this heat?!

Happy Summer. Notice there’s no exclamation point. Haha, don’t get too worried. Let’s just say that the commute to school (yes, I’m STILL working) and the unrelenting heat is taking a toll on me. But, behold! The greatest invention known to man (okay, air conditioning is the greatest, but that’s not really an option here).

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Teaching Update

I haven’t posted in a while about my job – you know the legal reason why I’m here. I think pictures from trips are much more exciting, but I’m sure some of you are curious about how things are going at my school. I’ve had some frustrating days recently while teaching, but I’m going to try to make this post less about venting and complaining and more of an objective (or as close as I can get) and constructive criticism of what I’ve experienced and observed. And don’t worry! I’ll share some funny moments too. Continue reading


Lucky for me, today was my last day of work this week, and I’m headed to Dublin tomorrow morning. Today, we celebrated Carnaval at school, and it was a pretty fun day despite the (usual) technical difficulties. I’m not gonna pretend to be an expert on this holiday and will instead kindly link you to this wikipedia page. Carnaval is celebrated in many countries, and it’s a pretty big deal in Spain. Everyone dresses up in costumes (similar to Halloween in the United States) and parties, parties, parties. At my school, the teachers were supposed to dress up as “rock stars,” which mostly translated to 80’s punk rock. I was told about this a day before our celebration, and I can’t say my wardrobe is very extensive here, so my costume consisted of me wearing black and sunglasses. Each grade had a different theme. My little 1st graders dressed up as instruments, and some of the costumes were really awesome! I’ll share some pics I took today. Continue reading

Happy Chicken Day!

Happy Thanksgiving to my loyal readers! It’s a bit sad to miss out on this holiday with my family, but my American friends and I made the most of it and celebrated ourselves potluck style. And to get me even more in the spirit, my school celebrated Thanksgiving this year (or at least tried). Every year the school celebrates an American holiday (although last year was “pancakes” so not sure what holiday that is and they actually made crepes…). So the past week I spent a lot of time making turkeys (which about half of the kids called chickens), tracing hands, explaining what it means to be thankful, and attempting to impart a little bit of knowledge about Pilgrims and Indians. I gave 8 presentations from ages 4 to 12. My 5th graders had a particularly fun time making a Thanksgiving Madlib and everyone loved this goofy video of hamsters, mice, and rabbits eating miniature Thanksgiving food. And of course, how could I forget the “famous” Turkey Pokey song AKA the Hokey Pokey modified for Thanksgiving. It had basically been playing on a loop the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and thanks to that, I don’t think it will ever leave my head. Today, we were going to have the actual Thanksgiving festival as an entire school, but because of rain, it’s been postponed. The kids seemed more confused than disappointed. Continue reading

I Got a Rock…

Lucky for me, I had Halloween off which made for a 4-day weekend. At school on Thursday, we basically spent the class periods doing Halloween activities. With the 5th graders, we watched Halloween videos I found: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the song “This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and an explanatory video about what Halloween is like in the U.S. The kids had never seen Charlie Brown, but they seemed to love the scene where Charlie keeps getting rocks. With the 1st graders, we did a Halloween word search, which was nearly impossible for them, and some coloring, which was considerably easier. Halloween isn’t as big of a holiday here as it is in the U.S. Kids probably do the most celebrating at school, and even then, it’s not as much as in America. Additionally, Halloween is meant to be strictly scary. Kids sometimes dress up (but don’t really trick or treat), and basically always as a witch, vampire, skeleton, ghost, etc. There’s another holiday called Carnival which occurs before Lent with more fun and less scary costumes. Continue reading

“So it’s Laura?”

I started teaching at the beginning of this month. I had visited the town once before to find my school and walk around a bit, so on the first day I knew where I was going. Or so I thought. I walked into my school and was greeted in English by a guy I later learned was José, one of the bilingual teachers. I guess it was pretty obvious who I was and where I was from. He informed me that there are actually two schools. Both are primary schools, but the school I was in is for grades 4-6 while the school I needed to head to to meet the bilingual coordinator was further down the road. This school is for grades 1-3 with a preschool nearby.

Here's a view of the town I work in called Ajalvir.

Here’s a view of the town I work in called Ajalvir.

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