Course-Blog Description: Considering relocating? To another country? I’ve only ever moved countries & continents once, but as a wide-eyed 12 year old, a lot of the process resembled a Disney-movie adventure. Thanks to my parents, who have done this several times in their lives, I have had a chance to glean from their wisdom the tricks of the traveling trade. Moving to another country, in this case, moving to Spain consists of a lot of short-term and long-term goal management. Through this blog, I hope to provide some insight to the overwhelming yet exciting process of moving abroad. I’ll be including a lot of the resources I found especially helpful when I was going through this as well as some tidbits from what I actually did. If you’re considering a move or if you’re in the process of making your move, I hope this blog gives you some comfort, makes you feel a little less stressed out, and makes you feel as prepared as you possibly can be before you leave. I’ll also be detailing my time abroad as a Language and Culture Assistant in an elementary/primary school in Santiago de Compostela. That’s primarily why I’ll be in Spain for the next year. There’ll be posts about culture, lesson planning, children, travel, fashion, food (lots of it), languages, and random thoughts.
Required materials: Tea, wine, coffee, coffee-shop ambience, cellphone, computer/laptop, snacks – all editions.
Blog Format/General Info: There are several blogs and bloggers out there who’ve detailed their experiences and so I’ll be drawing from them (with due credit), hopefully consolidating information in an accessible and organized way. I’ll probably also be posting ThoughtCatalog articles, links to other pieces I read (I read a lot) with a mood I’m in – just for fun. I’ll plan to post every Sunday evening when I’m working on lesson plans/planning the week, unless I’m doing more fun, adventurous things. I tend to write about everything, especially my feelings and thoughts because it’s easier to analyse and understand when it’s in ink. Moving to another country means assimilating to a new culture, being extremely observant and learning to thrive in the inevitable chaos that is living on your own in a country.
Specifically, I plan to focus on writing narrative essays and photoessays. If I feel inspired, there may be some poetry, some nonfiction/critical analyses of articles I’m reading/contemplating or some anecdotal snippets. There may also be lesson plans & evaluation style worksheets.
Pre-requisites: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Linguistics and Psychology. I’ve been a tutor since primary school when I was the teacher telling my students (friends/classmates) to turn in their homework, which they did with inventively using a stick for a pencil and paper for a leaf. I have worked in an education/mentoring/instructor position for more than 5 years. Last year I organized a conference on global and cultural competency, and through that learned about international education. I love working with children, young adults, college kids and adults. I’m always learning and they’re always helping me. I’m Indian and was born in Nairobi, Kenya (lived there till about 12 years old) and moved to the US 11 years ago. I’ve been a part of four different education systems and so I look forward to exploring this one. I’m interested in access to education mental healthcare policies, specifically in Internally Displaced Communities (IDCs) and refugee populations. You’ll probably be reading a lot about this stuff.
(Mine) I want to learn how education works. I want to learn how to better work with students from anywhere in the world. The more exposure I gain as an educator, working in different education systems, the more I’ll learn about what works and what needs to be worked on. I want to observe and engage with the community around me as fully as possible without disrupting what’s around me. I want to better myself as an educator, as someone who works with kids I realize that I have a lot of things that I could be working on and it always keeps me on my toes. I hope to improve as a communicator and a writer. I am scared to be alone and in a new place, naturally. I hope to build new relationships and networks. I hope to meet people, from other auxiliaries and travelers to local people, students and colleagues. I hope to learn Gallego. I hope to stay in touch with my friends across the ocean and I hope to travel and see my friends on this side of the pond. I want to be AMAZING at Pasapalabra (don’t worry there’ll be a post about that soon). I hope to write & implement effective lesson plans.
(The reader’s) Please engage with the blog (and me)! As any educator knows, the most difficult aspect of teaching and education is ensuring that the students are engaged and productively so! So, if you’re a NALCA prospect and you found something particularly helpful please let me know! If you thought some of the information was discombobulating, please let me know! Feedback is great, especially since I’m practicing my writing and trying to be as concise and clear as possible. If you’re friends and family, comment! Tell me how much you wish you could be there with me! Or tell me how you can’t wait for me to come back! Engaging with the blog will help me tremendously improve in ways I can’t even imagine. I also tend to write a lot, so if you think my posts could be shorter then please let me know! It’s all the Jonathan Swift I used to read once upon a time (yay verbosity!)
Grading: I don’t know how grading is considered an effective way of measuring learning and growth. So assessing and evaluation are extremely crucial, especially in real life. Below is a draft of the components in which I hope to assess myself. I don’t plan to use a concrete system of A-F, but a flexible range. I’ll have a better idea of where I want to see my growth once I’ve hit the 1-month mark (or at least I hope so). So check back to see what I’ve updated!
confusing/not grammatical –> engaging, responsive, original
Communication (Gallego + Castellano)
beginner/Guiri –> mixed proficiency/hesitation –> Spanish&Proud
beginner –> effectively engaging kids —> personalizing their growth
Healthy lifestyle (food + Physical + mental)
Tourist20 —> 5 months of semi-consistency —> EatPrayLove
not-so-consistent/helfpul —> always ready Sunday pm w/ beverage
Exams/Quizzes: This is going to be cheesy y’all. In life there are no make-up exams/quizzes. I guess these will be the trying/frustrating/all the feels moments that I encounter this year. To quote Eminem:
“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow/ This opportunity comes once in a lifetime”
Syllabus (to be updated)
9/18/14 Fly out to Barcelona