Schooling in Spain

I’ve officially been in Spain for one week and have had the opportunity to be in a variety of classes. It’s been an interesting experience thus far and while I’ve definitely noticed the differences, I’ve also noticed some similarities.
The differences would include the schedule but be aware I’ve been in what is considered a private school here in Spain. The students go from 10 am to 5:30 pm, but there is a 1/2 break for recess and a 2 hour break for lunch. In Spain right from kindergarten, you have one main teacher who teaches the math and language arts but then there are a variety of “tutors” who come in and teach science, social, art, music, gym. So it’s not unheard of for students to have 5-6 different teachers.
The other major challenge I’ve noticed here is that teachers are on their own in the classrooms, educational assistants are not something that teachers will have to help them out, even in kindergarten. So a teacher may have 22 students with a variety of issues, including behaviours, and they just have to deal with it. I ask if it’s hard and they just shrug “That’s the way it is in Spain.”
As well teachers in Spain, at least in the school I am in, do not have the access to technology like we do in Canada. They have one teacher computer, classes that are lucky will have a smartboard, but for most it is a projector and a screen. iPads do not exist in classrooms here, in fact I would say this is a market that Apple has yet to hit because I have not seen any iPhones or iPads here. There is one computer lab, but the teachers say good luck getting in there with their students.
But while I mention the differences I do have to share the similarities. Their care and concern for the students is evident. They have concerns about government changes and wonder how that will affect their students. They worry about whether there will be the funds to do the things they need for their students. They have the challenges of budgets, administrations, staff meetings and trying to get curriculum completed. It’s funny how some things are universal.
It is funny to see similar content and teaching strategies, I’ve seen concepts from science and math that I’m teaching my students back home. In the upper grades they do novel studies, I even saw “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in Spanish which was kind of funny. I’ve seen KWL charts, T charts, Venn diagrams and even some aspects of UDL too. It’s funny how some things are universal.

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