My First Day of School in Spain

Yesterday was my first day of school in Bailen as well as my first day at a language academy in Linares. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but I definitely wasn’t expecting what I encountered in either situation.

I firmly believe that one of the biggest crimes in education is when “teachers” enter the field with absolutely no desire or passion to do so, nor any level of concern or dedication for the students. They do not deserve the title nor the position. Teaching is an art. It is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs out there that literally serves as a crucial contribution to society. We are tasked with raising our future leaders, people who will influence the direction of our global society.

The school day is short here, from 9 to 2. Unbelievably, the teachers arrive and leave right at these hours. There is no planning or preparation time as most of the teaching seems to be done directly out of books. While there are exceptions to this, with some creative teachers in existence who attempt to make learning more interactive, it seems the majority are like this. Granted these are my observations from one school, but on speaking with other auxiliares this seems to be happening in other schools as well.

I can’t help but ask myself how anything substantial or long-lasting is completed or taught when teachers do not seem to put forth any effort in preparing lesson plans. Perhaps I’m being a bit too strict, but I can’t imagine what kind of learners we hope to raise when they are filling out page after page in a workbook.

Coming from the education crisis in the States, I thought I’d seen it all, but this seems to be a whole other level of assembly line learning.

I’m sort of dumbfounded on this point as, after my experiences in the States left me rather jaded as it is, but I sincerely hope to make some sort of change in what ways I can. It begins with the students and teachers right in front of me, in open and honest dialogue, one person at a time.

On the bright side, my students are the sweetest things in the world. I’m so excited to be working with 5 and 6 year olds again. As teachers, we are the last line of defense between our children and the challenges they face and will continue to face as they grow up. We are the last line of defense if they come from broken homes. I plan to cherish and nurture each child to help them bring forth their fullest potential.

“[Education] is not the piecemeal merchandising of information; it is the provision of keys that will allow people to unlock the vault of knowledge on their own. It does not consist in pilfering the intellectual property amassed by others through no additional effort of one’s own; it would rather place people on their own path of discovery and invention.” Tsunesaburo Makigushi


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