So I’m sitting in the staff room. It’s Monday morning. Break has finished, the smell of coffee is still lingering in the air. My coordinator has just sent me a whatsapp explaining that she won’t be in the next lesson with me as she’s not feeling too great. It’s obviously the Motril winter bug that everyone’s catching, even though it’s moderately sunny outside. That, or the fact that there are only five more days until the start of the Christmas holidays and she’s feeling a bit drained. (There’s no half term in Spain, so I guess this is a valid excuse).
After two and a half months of being the student-turned-teacher, my experiences of this school have been challenging yet rewarding. From a foreigners’ perspective, it’s been interesting and occasionally laughable to see how this primary school differs so much to our bog-standard, functioning English ones. I shall go into a bit of detail, using the staff room as my source of analysis.
Out of the five box-sized computers that there are in the staff room, three aren’t plugged in, one is plugged in but does not work, and the other is plugged in and works. This one solitary working computer was replaced over the weekend with one which boasts a flat screen monitor (very fancy stuff for this school) but I assume this doesn’t work either because no one has used it all day. Instead, the one that is plugged in (which doesn’t normally work) today seems to be working.
Sorry if I have caused you unnecessarily amounts of confusion about what works and what doesn’t.
The printer which sits next to these two computers is rather temperamental. Teachers walk into the staff room asking others or myself the same question, “Does the printer work?” I always give the same response, “It was working a moment ago but maybe you should check.” Last week, when they all had to prepare the Christmas reports for the kids, there was havoc. Never have so fewer teachers been present in the staff room. They were all in the photocopying room.
The printer didn’t work.
The coffee vending machine definitely works, but works incorrectly. Twice I have requested a coffee without sugar. Twice I have tasted two super sweet coffees.
Occasionally the school secretary marches into the staff room and shouts in her thick Andalusian accent and I understand nothing. She doesn’t realise she’s shouting, of course. She’s the perfect example of a crazy Andalusian. Sometimes they shout and don’t realise that their shouting. She almost comes across as angry. Of course, like a lot of the older-aged teachers, she doesn’t talk to me. This has probably been the most disappointing thing in the staff room – and about this school itself. The older ones aren’t exactly over friendly. A lot of the time I find myself playing the role as instigator of most conversations.
There is Juan-D, though. Juan-D is one of the older teachers who is the most friendly, who was the most welcoming when I arrived here and who has a passion to learn English, to the extent where I was on the cross-trainer once in the gym in Motril and he started asking me all sorts of things in English. Whenever I talk to him, I have to repeat what I say about ten times really loudly, because he is deaf in one ear. Imagine doing this on a cross-trainer.
At other times, when I have left school early after finishing my day, I have spontaneously bumped into Marino, the school’s headmaster, wondering around Motril. I wonder what he does and where he goes on these meanders because whatever the reason, it’s obviously more important than being the big daddy boss of the school.
Just about to pop to class, gotta deliver another Christmas presentation for the tenth time and show the kids the John Lewis advert.
Hasta luego amigos, Christmas is nearly here, go spread some Christmas cheer.
Wish they’d try do that a bit more in the staff room. I blame the computers for dampening everyone’s spirit.