Oof! I have had so many "beginnings" this week. I've found a Chinese school in Logroño and am enrolled in classes to continue my Chinese studies there. I have a local gym membership, I'm in contact with someone for Basque lessons, and most importantly, I've officially started working as an English assistant in a small public elementary school (Ikastola in Basque) in a town of about 600 people. The teachers, kids, and parents are all amazing and I'm learning so much! The first language of the school is Basque, so there are a lot of times when I'm just sitting there going "uhhhhhhhhhhhh", but I hope to change that with classes and practice.
The common language between me and the other teachers is Spanish, so that's what I use to communicate with them, but when they are not speaking with me they all speak in Basque. I assist in two grades with English, art, and P.E. classes. The kids are 6-9 years old in second year and 9-12 years old in third year. All of them speak Basque and Spanish, but I'm only supposed to speak English to them and keep the fact that I can speak Spanish hushed (otherwise that's all they'll use and they won't practice their English). I have a wonderful "tutor" named Irati who is the main teacher I'm with in classes and also sort of my boss under the main director. I also carpool with her to the town where I'm working, about 20 minutes from Logroño in Basque Country.
The school is very inclusive and diverse, and uses a 'cooperative learning' system where the idea is to never force the students to do anything (like a lesson or worksheet)- they have to want to do it. It's a very interesting style of teaching and I'm being exposed to some very different education methods as compared to the ones I grew up with in public schools in the US.
I work three days a week from 9:30-4:30 and have two days off, which is really, really great. The first week has left me exhausted and a mess, but I'm sure I'll get the routine down soon. The kids are so much fun, even though they are little monsters and leave me dead tired at the end of the day. ;) As I get used to this new job and lifestyle I'm also going to be looking into teaching private lessons for adults in the town and doing lessons over Skype. This will also give me some spending money for travel, gifts, etc, as my monthly salary will be going towards rent and necessities/food.
In other words, everything is going well and I'm enjoying all the learning experiences and challenges that come with every new day. It is getting colder here and sweater weather has officially started making me a very happy Libra/October baby. :) Here's to #23 tomorrow and all the new wonders and wanderings it brings. :)
An aspiring polyglot and globetrotter, an avid reader, and a lover of good food. :)