During my second week of student teaching here at St. Paul’s School, I have noticed many similarities and differences in this school compared to schools at home. The first similarity that I noticed was that this school implements the use of SMART Boards in the classroom. Just like in schools at home, the classroom teacher utilizes the SMART Board for instruction during lessons. The teacher uses the board for projections and student use of technology. There are an abundance of differences in this school compared to schools at home. Everything from the schools lunches to the schools schedules (or time timetables as they call them).
The first difference is the design of the school buildings. Instead of a traditional school building that has one building, this school has separate buildings for early years, intermediate, and high school. The students walk to other building for their specials (music, art, PE). The schools playground is also very different. The students are encouraged to create their own “playtime” ideas. But the school still has a few similar playground equipment such as a tetherball, basketball court, soccer goals, and ping pong tables. This school even includes a school garden where students are assigned weekdays to bring in compost to fertilize the garden. This school is absolutely beautiful!!
Another notable difference is the schools lunchroom and lunches. The school has a formal lunch setting where students are served 3 courses typically. Each course is served on glass plates and the students use glass cups. Milk is hard to come by in this area so the students are just served water. Unlike American schools where milk is served with breakfast and lunch, the students drink glasses of water. The milk here in Barcelona comes in a carton but is not cold and has a lot of preservatives in it. The school only serves organic and fresh food so this milk is not an option on the menu.
The school also has a very different form of transportation to and from school. Unlike our yellow school buses, this school uses what we call charter buses as their school transportation every day.
The school schedule is also very different from our own. The students school days are different every day. There are about 9 periods per day. The students have the main subjects like math, English, and Science & Social Studies, but the students also take 3 languages (English, Catalan, Spanish). The students have a break time or recess in the morning for 30 minutes and then for an hour after lunch. The students also have the specials Art, PE, and Music during the week at least once. My 3rd graders also have Swimming every Tuesday during school for 2 hours. Each school day if different. The students may have math at the beginning of the day one day and the end of the day on another.
The classroom management is also different from home. There really isn’t a behavior chart for bad behavior. The students can be written up but don’t have an in class behavior chart. The classroom set up is similar to back home by having students sit in mixed ability groups, table groups, partners, and so on. The classroom also has a classroom library since there is not school library for the students to checkout books. The teaching strategies are also very different from a typical American classroom. The teachers typically use the same types of teaching strategies. There isn’t a variety really of how to implement instruction in new ways. But the teachers do implement student technology from time to time.
My role in this 3rd grade classroom is to assist the teacher, work with small groups or one-on-one, and also to teach full lessons in all the content areas. I have previously taught three lessons, one in math, one in English, and one in Science. This coming up week I will be teaching 5 lessons!! I have loved trying to implement a variety of teaching strategies different from their teaching strategies. I am looking forward to seeing how this week goes after implementing these lesson!!
Till next time,