Before coming to Spain to teach for three months I wasn´t quite sure what to expect. I had heard stories about Spain, of course, about the delicious ham, the siestas people take every day and how kind the people are here. But you never really know what something is like until you try it. Or in my case, until I was fully immersed in the language and culture of the country. I had the opportunity to live with a wonderful host family and teach in a high school where the students were all ears about the United States. This experience was nothing like I thought it would be, but better than I had imagined beyond words. By having the chance to teach and live in Spain taught me more about the culture than any amount of traveling could have.
When I first arrived in Cacabelos I was in shock by the amount of differences there were between the high schools in the United States and the one here. One of the things that took the longest to get used to was that the teachers are the ones who rotate classrooms. In all of my education when I was the student it was I who would rotate to my teachers´classrooms, not the other way around. Therefore, this was difficult to get used to, having to bring material with you to each class. Although, it was also nice to see the class waiting for you ready whenever you were. That is something that is always a problem in the U.S. when the students rotate, is that it is up to them to arrive on time to the next class when many times they are late.
I began the trimester by teaching the students about my life in the United States and what Arizona (my home state) is like. It was fun to see that most of them knew about the Grand Canyon, Arizona´s claim to fame. I really enjoyed interacting with them and discussing the United States since most of them haven´t been there before so they were very curious. I truly enjoyed all of the classes and grade levels because each one was so unique in many ways. In some classes we studied verb tenses or conjugations and in others we studied physical education or biology. No matter what the subject was, the students always found a way to enjoy the class with their peers. The students are what made the subjects enjoyable to teach and that is something I will really miss.
I was so lucky to have been placed at Bergidum Flavium High School for many reasons, but one is that they offer a bilingual track for the students. Many of my students were in the bilingual program which meant I got the opportunity to see their progression with English in more than one subject per week. I saw them excel not only in English class but also science and physical education class as well. Every day I was impressed by their level of English. It takes a lot of work to learn a subject like biology or physics in a second language. I have a tremendous amount of respect for all the students here because learning another language is not a simple task. I wish it was like this in the United States because currently taking a second language is optional. However, at Bergidum Flavium every student has accomplished a great milestone already by having practiced English in school.
It was a honor to work here in Cacabelos with all the teachers and the students. This is an experience I will never forget thanks to how welcoming everyone was to me. I look forward to teaching in the United States and telling my future students about Spain and what life is like here. I am sure they will be equally as curious as the students were here. I know I will always remember these past three months and I hope to return to Cacabelos one day in the future. Thank you to everyone for making my experience here so memorable.