As I reach the end of my second week of work, (tomorrow is a national holiday here in Spain, Fiesta Nacional--celebrating when Columbus arrived in North America), I wanted to share a few experiences from my first two weeks as a "teacher." I teach in a colegio, which is similar to an elementary school in that the school has children from ages 3-12.
I requested to be in a colegio because I feel more comfortable around younger kids, and I haven't regretted that decision once. Every day when I walk into the younger classes, from the four year olds up to the second graders, the kids jump up and come running to give me a hug. On the first day, when I came to the school just to visit and introduce myself to the teachers, the kids reacted the same way. It reminded me of that talking dog in the movie "Up" that goes "I have just met you, and I love you."
A couple of differences that I have noticed between the school I work in here, and the school's I've attended in the US are:
In the US the students change classes every period, but here in Spain, the teachers change classrooms. The students stay in the same room, except for recreo or recess, and the different teachers, such as the English teacher, come to them.
Lunch is not served during the school day. The hours for the colegios here are from 9am-2pm, so instead of having lunch, the children bring a snack, like a small sandwich and drink, to eat while the whole school gets a period of recreo from 12-12:30. Lunch is served after school for those students who want it.