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LingoMap: School and College life

3 July 2017

Finally I am back with another LingoMap blog! I hope you have enjoyed reading about my year abroad journey so far! For this blog I am focusing on school and college life in Spain.

The first thing I will say about school life in Spain is that it is extremely different to school life in England and Wales. A few minor differences:

1) No uniform
2) Pupils call teachers by their first name
3) Long lunch breaks

Throughout Europe, the no uniform policy is a popular idea, particularly in Spain and France. For me, this has positive aspects and negative ones; Children tend to be more comfortable in their own clothes, and have the freedom to express themselves through what they choose to wear, and can choose clothes which are suitable for the weather/the activities that day. However, the daily decision of what to wear everyday can become a bit of a chore! In the school I worked in in Spain, the children did not have a PE kit, and instead wore the clothes they wore to school that day. If the PE lesson was at the beginning of the day, then the children weren’t left feeling particularly fresh for the rest of the day.

Another contrast between school life in Spain and school life in the U.K is that Spanish schools seem to be more informal. Children call their teachers by their first name, and the children have a warm and affectionate relationship with their teachers (this is my experience in a primary school). Many a time would I see pupils rushing up to hug their teachers in the morning or chanting their teachers name during a lesson! This can however lead to a relationship with a lack of respect, where children feel they can argue with their teacher as though they were a parent or a sibling!

The third contract I noticed in the school I taught in was how long their lunch break was. I’m sure you have all heard of the famous Spanish ‘siesta’; I can confirm that it is not a rumour. Teachers and pupils in Spain have a 3 hour, yes 3 HOUR, lunchbreak from 12.30 – 15.30, and this is common amongst most schools in Spain. It is partly due to the climate, but remains the same all year round, even in the winter months when the climate is mild! In my experience, it was way too long for a break during a school day! Often children returned distracted and it often took a long time for the teacher to engage them in activities again.

Overall however, I loved working in a Spanish school. The atmosphere was very relaxed, warm and welcoming, although sometimes not quite as efficient as we are in the U.K! It was a great experience, that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in pursuing languages!