I’m going to take you back a couple of years. Back to Marchena, the town I spent my first year when I first moved to Spain in 2014. I’ll admit, I sometimes miss Marchena. The town epitomised the easy-going Andalusian way of life. To this day I still miss its cafés, its jamón, and of course its molletes.
Do I miss the school I worked in? That’s another blog in itself. I cannot stress how much I’ve learnt as a teacher since leaving there. Work days in Marchena were long; you felt on the clock from the moment you got up to the moment you went to bed. Communication between Marchena and the company’s head school was mainly by email; some problems took weeks to be solved. I’m still waiting on a reply for one email as it is!
I often felt sorry for the students of this school. In truth, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer bunch of students in my first year. They provided the tonic. While teaching, you forgot about the problems outside. You got on with the job as best you could. It’s just a shame that due to simple organisational problems, they never got the best out of their teachers.
One of those classes was a group of seven year olds. For this group, I felt thrown in at the deep end. I was green. Much greener than I am now. Our school’s focus was on speaking. In no way should you break up a class and let them practice other skills. God help you if you gave them a word ordering activity! For any english teacher reading this, picture one of your young learner classes. Picture doing only speaking activities for an entire hour. I’m sorry for giving you such a thought.
With the class nearly over we lined up to leave as we always did. Flashcards in hand, we practiced our target language of the day. In order to join the queue, you had to give me a full sentence. Ciara led the queue today. As a reward, she got to open the door – and she was only delighted to do so. We walked out into the reception to meet the parents. With another class about to start almost immediately after, I barely had the time to say hello.
On my way back, I bumped into James, one of the more livelier students walking out the door of the class. He had remained in the class without me realising. ‘Hello James’, I said. He looked up at me, cheekily grinned and continued on his way down the corridor to where his mother was waiting. I didn’t think much of it at the time, assuming he had left something behind on leaving and had returned to collect it.
James didn’t return to collect anything. No. James remained in the classroom the entire time I was out with the rest of the class. James noticed my phone on my table. James decided to be daring. No doubt learning from someone else in the family, he managed to find my camera from the lock screen and took a selfie of himself. All in the space of less than a minute.
Bravo, James. Bravo!