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Col·legi Escorial – Vic

Col·legi Escorial joined the PAC three years ago. They have always contributed to the blog, for which we thank them! This year they are hosting Katy, from the UK. Here are her impressions on the programme:

I’m a Conversation Assistant working in Col·legi Escorial, located in the centre of the city of Vic, about 1 hour north of Barcelona. I’ve loved my time here and it’s hard to imagine that in just a few weeks I will be back in the UK. I arrived at the beginning of November, and from day one have been thrown into school life, head-first. With the schools support I have taken on many extra classes and while the timetable has been very tiring at times, I’ve really enjoyed being able to be part of such a wide range of activities.

My pupils in school vary from 6-16 years of age, and so the teaching approach varies a lot from class to class. In the primary school I assist the teachers with the whole class of pupils, and in the secondary school I take smaller groups of students (normally between 6 and 15) on my own and prepare different activities for them to do. The secondary classes are definitely my favourite, as I am more or less given free rein by the teachers for the hour, so I alternate between preparing role plays and debates, practising and reinforcing the grammar points they study in class, and playing some good old fashioned games! The latter of these is the most important and useful for me, as when I have to tell a class of 16 year olds that at 4pm on a Thursday we’re going to study the 3rd conditional, there has to be an element of bargaining with a good finishing game to get them to concentrate!

Aside from the school lessons, I also teach 2 small groups of teachers at lunch times and give conversation classes to parents after school. I have also had several different private pupils throughout the year, both children and adults, and I have given 2 ‘lectures’ at a local English Academy.

As you can see, I’ve barely had a spare moment to breathe this year, but there’s still been a little time left over to spend with my amazing host family, climbing various mountains, going for walks on sunny days to see the gorgeous Catalan countryside, and introducing them to the delights of scotch pancakes, custard, Cadburys and of course, Angel Delight!

There just remains 2 groups of people to mention. Firstly, the students. The kids here are fantastic, they have settled down amazingly well and within just a few weeks, the classes went from being totally silent, to being full of chatter (admittedly not all in English, but we’re getting there). They’ve embraced the idea of having a foreign student, and over the course of the year they have all visibly improved their English speaking ability, and as a ‘teacher’, that feels great. The second group obviously, is the teachers. I cannot praise the teachers here highly enough, they all do an amazing job and what a job it is! Even though everyone is clearly rushed off their feet with reports or marking or lesson planning, they always have time to answer my silly questions, or help me with something I’m unsure of. They all deserve medals!

Well, my year in Catalonia is almost at an end. There are so many things I wish I’d done, wish I’d visited or taken part in, and while that’s a little sad, it also makes me more sure than ever that I will find myself back here one day. I hope I’ve made some lifelong friends out here, and maybe one day soon the blonde girl from the Isle of Wight will be back!

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