Monday, December 16, 2013

Eating my way through Spain

If you follow me on instagram or have talked to me at all in the past months, you'll know that I'm pretty obsessed with the food here. Food is one way that Sevilla is very different from my experience in Barcelona. Barcelona is full of international and fast food. Sevilla is full of tapas and traditional Southern dishes. I have tried as much as I can. Not eating pork has gotten in the way a little bit (they love their pork here) and it has gotten me some weird looks from the waiters. I don't eat pork? How do I live? Anyway, after some hits and misses I have found my favorite and go to tapas. I can now recognize most of their Spanish names and I no longer need to phone a friend or ask to see an English menu. I will say that my friends and I have complained a little about the lack of flavor and the lack of variety of food here. It is very difficult to get spicy things. For us, when they say it's spicy we all nod and say "so it'll be flavorful". My friends and I have begun to consciously seek out international food restaurants. So far we have gone for Indian and Mexican food. They've been okay, but honestly, no one does Tex Mex like Chipotle. So here is a collection of food for your viewing pleasure. Word to the wise, anything that is fried with goat cheese and honey is a must.
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Sunday, December 15, 2013


Months and months ago Emily, Stepanie and I took a day trip to Carmona. Carmona is a small town about an hour away from Sevilla. It is known for fantastic tapas, Roman ruins and a ton of churches. You can find more information here. I didn't really know much about Carmona so I took the trip more as an opportunity to continue to learn about my fancy new camera. We began with a pit stop for tapas. I'll be honest though, they were the worst tapas I had had since arriving to Spain. And I'd had a good amount of tapas. The resaurant didn't have half the things we ordered so I ended up with fried octopus. Now, I have no problem eating octopus but when a plate of fully recongnizable baby octopuses were placed in front of me I got a little queasy. This was not what I had expected. I ate them anyway because...well...I'm in Spain so why not? After that we checked out some Roman ruins, played with my camera and wandered around the town. Carmona was nothing mind blowing but it was a nice and inexpensive way to get out of the city for the day and to do something different than bop around Seville.
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about my Job

My school:
I really lucked out with my school. I work in a primary and elementary school in Bormujos. Bormujos is about a 15 minute drive outside of Sevilla. Given the fact that some of my friends commute an hour or more to their schools, I feel very fortunate about my location. Everyone was welcoming and helpful from my first day. It has been quite the learning curve to create communication with my teachers about what they expect, but after a couple months I am definitely more comfortable. The first couple of weeks I was a mess. I didn´t know what was expected of me, but now I can put together a lesson plan in less than 10 minutes. Also, I´m great with flashcard games. Here's the kicker though, my kids think that I don't know any Spanish. So they have no idea that I can understand every single word they say. Now, I quickly realized it was way too difficult to play full on dumb American. So, if a student asks a question in Spanish I'll either repeat the question in English or simply answer it in English. Either the kids think I can magically understand them or they're just not saying anything.

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Colors and Autumn vocabulary with my kindergarteners

My teachers:
I work with 6 different teachers in 11 different classrooms. Needless to say sometimes communication can be a little difficult. Understandably, I work better with some teachers than with others. I've seen examples of brilliant teaching that I strive to emulate and also examples of poor teaching that I add to my list of things I will never do in a classroom.Technically I am not allowed to be alone in the classroom. However, I am comfortable enough now that if the teacher needs to make copies or grab something, I don't mind at all. I really admire when teachers take advantage of my leading the class to spend one on one time with students that need the extra help. But then there are the teachers (or teacher) who takes advantage of my time in ways that make me want to scream. Instead of grading papers or helping students, this teacher will just disappear to who knows where, making me late for my next class. Overall, I have created wonderful relationships with my coworkers. They are always ready to support me or give me advice on the best ways to take advantage of my time here. 

The classes:
I teach kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th grade. I like some classes more than others. My favorite class is one of my third grade classes. Every Wednesday, when I enter the classroom, there is a chorus of "Teacher Maddie" and then I get hug piled. I never realize how much I need that until it happens. It makes the week 10x better. Then there are the classes I dread. From disorganized and uncommunicative teachers to last minute changes in plans, sometimes I just want to throw up my hands and leave. I like a good challenge, but sometimes when a class goes the wrong way there is nothing you can do but give them something to color. Probably my favorite classes to teach are my kindergarten classes. They really make me want to teach kindergarten after this year as a Language Assistant. I get to be really creative with my lesson plans and activities, and to be honest, my students are really easy to please. Sometimes I think I have more fun than the kids. At 5 years old they don't understand much English, but when the somethings clicks, it's really fun to watch. 

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Celebrating Halloween with 1b

What do I teach?
Actually, I teach more science than English. Sciences are bilingual in Spain. So I teach 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade science. I have become an expert in animals, the five senses and food. It's interesting, but I'd rather just be teaching straight up English. It's way easier for me to come up with my kindergarten and 6th grade English lesson plans than my science ones. In my science classes I am teaching science through English. So, the focus is more on understanding the scientific concepts than on the English itself. Also I constantly ask myself, when are kids ever going to need to know the English words for vertebrate and invertebrate? I mean, really.

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Thanksgiving vocabulary with 6b
I like what I'm doing. I like the majority of my classes, students and teachers. You should hear the horror stories some of my friends have told; I count myself lucky in my placement. I become more and more comfortable everyday. I am seriously considering renewing for a second year because I feel like it would be such a shame to put in all this work and accumulate all of this knowledge simply to never utilize it again. So there you have it, a not so brief overview of my job.

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