As much as I love sharing my travels with you, I feel like it’s about time that I devote a post to my teaching experience (after all, it is what I’m here for). Since the middle of September, I have been working as a volunteer Auxiliar de Conversacion in the English department at a high school in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Let me tell you, it has its ups and downs.
On my first day, I was a bundle of excitement and nerves. I could not wait to meet the students and talk to them in English. The department organized my day so that I would go from class to class and present a powerpoint presentation about myself, Kansas, the United States, etc. During the first hour, I began my presentation with, “Hello, my name is Megan. I’m from Kansas.” I was immediately met with wide eyes and students raising their hands telling me to slow down. I continued my presentation at a slower pace. I don’t think I have ever spoken that slow. After my presentation, I asked if anyone had questions. No. I asked them questions about their favorite hobbies. No response. Then the students told me they didn’t understand my presentation. All I wanted to do was cry, but I didn’t have time because I had to go to the next class. My week got progressively better and now that I finally have a set schedule and know the students, I’m very happy with how things are going. So instead of reliving every day since the middle of September, I’d like to tell you some of my favorite questions/moments, thus far, that have come from working as an auxiliar.
1. Do you listen to reggaeton?
Since I’ve been here, many students have asked me if I listen to reggaeton music. I said, “Oh yeah, reggae?” and they said, “No, reggaeton.” I had no idea there was a difference. Raggaeton is actually a fusion of Latin and Caribbean music. This music uses Jamaican and Haitian influences, along with salsa, latin hip hop and electronica. Most of the today’s popular reggaeton artists are from Puerto Rico. As I asked the students in my classes more about reggaeton, I found out that girls really like it. As for guys… not so much. I began researching some popular reggaeton artists, and I must say, I kind of like it. 🙂
2. Do you like Spanish food?
Whether it’s a student at school or an adult in the pueblo, at least one person asks me this question every day. My answer? Yes. I love Spanish food. What’s not to love? Paella? Good. Croquetas? Good. Calamari? GOOD! I especially love that I can eat fresh seafood every. single. day. Las gambas, anyone?! All this being said, I do miss my comida Americana. Lately, I have been craving a taco. At this point, I would pay an unreasonable amount to go to a Mexican restaurant.
Want to know the best way to become overtly aware of the words you say the most? You know, words such as “like” or “cool.” Well, spend some time in a class of English language learners, and you’ll become aware pretty fast. After spending four weeks with the students, I have begun to learn how incorrect my grammar actually is. In fact, today a student raised her hand to ask me, “What is the word yep? Do you mean yes?” My response? “Yep, I sure do.” I then continued to explain the words, “yes, yep, yeah, and sure” so that the class would understand whenever I answered a question.
I’ve also learned that I also use the work “okay” a lot. I use it as an interjection, a conjunction, an adverb. You name it, I use it. There is even a class in which two students have started keeping track of how many times I say “okay”. (Maybe I should keep track of how many times they say “vale” haha.) All jokes aside, I actually really like it when the students call me out on my grammar. Not only does make me realize what I need to correct, but it also gives me the opportunity to teach them some more slang terms.
Well, I think that’s enough insight for today. Until next time, ¡Hasta luego!
“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14