My name is Claudia Gomez and I am a Spanish teacher in the United States.
For the past month, I’ve have been working primarily with 4th, 5th, and 6th graders teaching English here. The time I spent here has been amazing, at this school and in Barcelona in general. It has been the first time I left the United States and I have to say this experience has opened my eyes to the world as a whole and has allowed me to better understand a culture I spent so long studying. I am fortunate to have had this experience and to teach students English.
When I first arrived, I definitely was noticing a lot of cultural differences everywhere I looked and went. I have taught in public and private schools back in the United States and I found it so interesting how school works here. In Spain there aren’t standardized tests which are a huge part of America’s education system. Not having these tests allows teachers to focus on what’s more important, teaching students as a whole and not just preparing them for a test. It lets teachers spend more time on what matters.
I also noticed students are able to go outside two separate times during the school day. Research has shown students learn better and focus more when allowed to do physical activity throughout the day. The two hour lunches were different for me as well. Back home it’s very rushed, life in general is very rushed. It was nice to go for coffee during the day and spend time with colleagues.
I also loved the Erasmus program. I wish back home we had something to this extent. The fact that students get to work with and learn from other countries is incredible. In the United States foreign language is not as valued as it is here. I think it’s amazing how most students here can speak three languages, if not more! I feel like students here appreciate and understand the world more than the ones back home. And that’s why I am a foreign language teacher. The importance of learning a new language and understanding a new culture connects you to the rest of the world, as well as a whole different group of people that you may have never been able to communicate with before. I want to instill this importance in my students.
Working abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made, not only for my career, but for myself. Send your students to other countries, have them learn that foreign language. They will be that much more grateful when they get older. Thank you for having me. It has been a pleasure working here.