My days of teaching in Bami always begin a brisk walk/ down along the River Guadalquivir to catch the bus to Bami. I ride the bus for about 20 minutes, most of which I usually spend people watching. I get off the bus close to the school and take a peaceful walk towards BVM.
The security guard at the school never seems to remember who I am, so I get stopped and questioned every Monday without fail. I head up to the secondary teachers’ “lounge” where I make small talk with the other professors and wait for Prado, my CT. The other teachers are still confused by the presence of an “Americana” in the school, but I have a few allies I love to chat with. Something I have gathered is that punctuality is NOT crucial or even acknowledged in Spain. Prado and the other teachers are routinely late and always find time to catch up with each other, make copies, find books, etc. when the bell has already been rung and the students are in their classrooms waiting. I am not sure I will ever get used to that! I usually have some time to talk to some students before Prado begins her lessons. The students are incredibly curious about my life in Seville as well as life in the United States.
When Prado enters the rooms she knocks on the door and all the students stand up. She greets them and they respond in chorus. She permits them to sit down and they thank her (for that allowance and for showing up apparently), and she thanks them in return. The students sit and the class begins. Our first class of the day is an elective class for students in their final year of school. They read classic literature and dabble in philosophy with Prado. Most of the time is spent reading aloud and reviewing their responses to comprehension questions about the texts they have read. After that 2nd Bachillerato class, Prado, another teacher, and I go out to a café to talk and eat. We discuss cultural differences, traveling, and the high school. I understand them most of the time, but once in a while I get lost in translation and they have to clue me in. Then we all return to BVM, and Prado and I head to “Tutoría,” which is comparable to office hours. Prado plans lessons, and I observe and read.
My favorite class follows “Tutoría” time. This group of students is in their second year of high school, and Prado teaches them a language class with a focus on Spanish grammar. Every week Prado reviews previously assigned topics and corrects student work. This class is the most interactive, attentive, and welcoming to me. I have also learned a lot of Spanish grammar in this class, such as the components of sentences, the breakdown of words, and the breakdown of Spanish sentence structure. The students are so incredibly nice and conscientious in this class.
The last class is the most difficult group of students, as they are one year away from graduation and tend to think they are smarter than all of the secondary professors. This is also a language class with an emphasis on advanced grammar and literature. I tend to get a little bit heckled in this class for being both an American AND a student teacher.
That class is the final class of the day, so I make my way through the crowds of students exiting the school in order to catch my bus home. I really enjoy the Bami neighborhood and its beautiful orange trees and friendly locals. My days in Bami inundate me with new knowledge and innovative ideas for my future Spanish classes once I return to Boston.