Here’s a quick look at what I see every day teaching at Santa Isabel. This is one of the first grade classrooms I am working in. It is typical of the other primary grade classes and pretty similar to our classrooms in the US. However, there are some key differences.
The pictures below show some of the biggest differences between American classrooms and Spanish classrooms. First, the students keep their backpacks on their chairs and hang their coats and smocks on their hook. Smocks are the little blue pinstriped jackets that the girls wear while at school so they don’t get their uniforms as dirty. Another difference would be that each student has a pencil case where they keep their own set of pencils, erasers, glue, scissors, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils or crayons. The teacher only has 2-3 spares if a student forgets their pencil case. On Friday, the students are expected to take their pencil case home and sharpen the pencils or replace any of the supplies. The use of a blackboard, small whiteboard, and overhead projector is also different from America where most classrooms have smart boards. The use of technology in the classroom is minimal with only one or two computers in each room. Student use of technology is also infrequent because one computer lab is shared by the 1st-6th grades.
Similar to our recess, the students get a snack and time to play outside on the patio each day for thirty minutes. One or two teachers monitor the area while the students eat, play soccer, jump rope, play hand games, draw, color, and sit and talk.
And this is the wonderful teacher that I am working alongside, Miss Mary. We have been studying healthy and unhealthy habits in science the past two weeks, so we all made self-portraits of ourselves doing a healthy activity. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to teach and collaborate in her classroom. She is so patient and kind with the girls. It is very evident how much she cares for her students with the creative lessons she plans and the kindness she show towards them. These are the qualities that a good teacher in any country possesses and the qualities that I want my students to see in me.