Teaching in Vigo, Part 2


It’s been an interesting first 3 weeks in Vigo.

On what was supposed to be my first week in school (granted, for inset days), I fell ill with one of the worst bugs I’ve had since malaria circa 2009. It started with a groggy feeling and ended with a drip inserted in my arm, aching all over, sampling the brand new hospital in Vigo. On the plus side, it did give me the chance to sample the Spanish system compared to the UK one. After staggering to the doctors, I was able to see one immediately and was then referred straight on to the hospital, so things happened quickly. At the hospital, I waited for about two hours (which I didn’t think was too bad!?) and then they did all sorts of tests to discover….nothing! Apart from a suspected virus, probably from something I’d eaten or drank. Anyway, this “thing” happened after I’d previously been suffering with a chesty cold for the best part of 6 weeks already. Enough moany awfulness now. But yeah, like I said, its been interesting.

After missing three out of the five inset days I was able to get in for the first day teaching the kids. The children are great. They are all lively and enthusiastic about their learning. This does bring its own challenges in terms of classroom management when a group of students get so into something that you thought was “standard fare”. Nevertheless, the benefits are obvious when planning lessons. I’ve been delighted with the quality of the homework’s submitted so far. The effort put in by some has been stunning, even for year 7’s. My “highlight lessons” so far have been a series on the Treaty of Versailles with Year 10. A special mention to Russel Tarr and Active History here. The students enjoyed taking on the roles of USA, Britain and France in negotiating the T of V. Most groups ended up disagreeing with the “real” decisions made by the peacekeepers. Perhaps they were onto something? I was really impressed that considering all but one of the students in second language English, how well they engaged in the debates and arguments. I will be setting them a written assessment soon so I will be equally intrigued to see where their level sits collectively for IGCSE History.

In terms of school life, the lunch is the best school lunch I have ever had (and is provided for free by the school as part of the contract), Spanish lessons start soon and I’ve set up Friday football. We played last week but only 5 staff turned up L This meant an emphatic defeat for the three Englishman against two Spaniards. We disgraced ourselves.

I have a sneaky feeling my work life balance is going to be very different here than in any of my eight years teaching in the UK. On Sunday, I spent all day at the beach and didn’t experience many pangs of fear as late afternoon approached. In saying that, assessment and marking hasn’t really “kicked in” yet.

Adios for now :)

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