Friday, October 9, 2009

"Hi Everyone, I'm Olivia from New York..."

I just finished my first week of work! (Yes I actually do have other responsibilities besides going to the beach)  I’m teaching at two schools in Mallorca, which are both extremely different. One school, Santa Maria, is located in Palma (about 25 mins away from my house by bus) and it has all ages (infantile through secondary school students) but I’m only working with the 12-13 and 15-16 year olds.  I will be working at Santa Maria on Mondays and Tuesdays teaching four English classes and assisting in one technology class.  One Wednesdays and Thursdays I’m teaching at Urbanitzacions de Llucmajor, a school an hour outside of Palma in a beautiful area on the water called Badia Gran.  At this school all of my students are between the ages of 4-7…and they are so so so cute!  The school has a blog and they already posted pictures of me introducing myself to the students during an art class (  Ps the whole website is in Catalan, but it basically says that I just arrived from New York and I will be working in the school as a language assistant. 
Although I’m positive I’m going to love teaching, it’s very different than I imagined.  To my surprise I found out (about 5 minutes before class started) that rather than “assisting” the teacher in the classroom I will actually be running the classes by myself and creating my own lesson plans and activities for the students.  I’m actually really excited about having this freedom, but learning that I would have to run 3 hour long classes by myself just a couple of minutes before class started was…interesting...Since I didn’t have anything planned I just introduced myself and then allowed the students to ask me any questions that came to mind.  Here are some of the questions the 12 and 13 year olds asked me:
1.        “Do you have a boyfriend??”  Of course this was the first question the girls had for me! 
2.       “Have you ever met a celebrity?”
3.       “Do you have a pet”?
4.       “What did I study in school?” Note-to-self: never answer this question truthfully…I’ve found out that telling Spaniards that I studied Ethnic Studies is like saying I studied the history of blue cheese…people really don’t understand ethnic studies, even when I explain it and say it focuses on learning about human rights and social justice issues they still look at me like I’m the craziest extranjero they’ve ever met. 
5.       And my all time favorite question of the day…”Are there squirrels in Central Park?”  I almost didn’t believe I heard the word “squirrels” when the student first said it because I didn’t think it was even a part of their vocabulary, but when I asked him to repeat the question his friend decided to chime in and explained “you know the little animal with a big tail”… And then yesterday when I was at the other school I had a 6 year old ask me about squirrels!  I really don’t understand the fascination, but when I find out more about the squirrel-Spain connection I’ll be sure to elaborate. 


  1. OMG Foreigners love squirrels. When I visited Hong Kong zoo, the squirrel exhibit was the most popular one among children. Think about the idea of chinchillas running amok in suburbia, then you'll empathize with their squirrel-longing.

  2. hi olivia,

    Sorry we didn't get to see you before you left. Mallorca looks beautiful!!! Hope you are having a good time and Buena Suerte with your Spanish!
    Mr. and Mrs. Osman

  3. ...wants to know the answer to the first question so I know whether or not I have a fighting chance...