Since today was my last day, all the girls wanted to hug me and tell me goodbye, which was really sweet. Miss Mary also helped them to make little goodbye cards that she laminated into the shape of a heart for me. Everyone here has been so wonderful and nice, and I’m really going to miss them. But, the school day has come to an end, and so has my stay here.
Now, I am packed and ready to fly out of Barcelona in the morning. I can still hardly believe that I’m here, much less that I’m about to leave. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience my chosen profession in such a different context. From an American perspective, it seemed almost crazy to me that the school could teach English to students as young as five, completely in English, and expect them to learn successfully. And yet, every day that I’ve been here has proven just that.
This experience has strongly demonstrated just how important teacher expectations are. These teachers come into class speaking a foreign language, expecting students both to comprehend the content and to respond in that same language. And they do.
Kids can do so much if we just believe in them and push them to achieve. We can’t let details like first language or family background impact the way we see them, because as soon as we accept “his parents don’t value school,” or “she has ADHD,” as an excuse, so do they.
This is not to say that we should ignore the unique challenges and strengths that each student brings into the classroom. All students struggle, and we have to account for that in our instruction and give them the tools they need in order to succeed. Once we do our part, though, we have to trust them to do the same and show us just what they can do.
This experience has been so enlightening for me. Though I am sad to see it end, I am so excited to get into my own classroom and use what I have learned to impact my own students. I know there is still so much more to learn, and there will be for the duration of my career, but I can’t wait to get started.