Sunday, September 29, 2013

The scary life of teachers on strike

The Majorca Daily Bulletin
Wow!  I am quickly learning so much about the schools here in Spain, and more specifically, in Mallorca.  I received an e-mail yesterday from one of the schools I will be working in.  The language department has been in communication with me and informed me that even though I am supposed to start work on Tuesday, the teachers are striking and so I should not plan on coming into school until I hear back from them.  WHAT? Oh, so that’s why I’ve seen all those green t-shirts….

I had heard bits and pieces about local teachers on stirke but assumed it wasn’t a big deal.  Well I was very, very wrong.  Apparently the government has enforced a rule just last month that states, instead of teachers teaching in Castilian (the Spanish we know) and Catalan (the island’s native language), evenly throughout the day, they are being forced to teach in Castilian, Catalan, AND English equally.  So 33% of the day they will have to teach in English- a language that many of them do not know or only know the basics of. 

Ummmm, what?  How can we blame them for striking?  Do you know Castilian?  Do you know Catalan?  What if our government suddenly told you that you would have to spend 30% of the day teaching in Castilian?  Could you effectively teach math when you are only able to teach it in Catalan?  I know I would not, could not, be an effective math teacher like that.  The amazing thing is however, the teachers are totally fine with having to do this.  It’s just that it was enforced last month.  Where’s the training?  Where’s the support?  There is none.  Give them time and they can adapt.  However, time is not being provided and thus teachers are striking. 
The other side here is the students.  Not all students have been raised in homes that speak English.  So even if you were trained in Castilian and walked into your classroom and gave a rockin’ math lesson, in perfect Castilian, would all of your students understand the lesson?  In order to implement something like this, teachers and students need time.  They need to slowly be immersed into this.  They need to learn together, not separately or all in one month.  There needs to be proper implementation, which it seems there is not. 
I definitely do not have an answer to this problem but I am excited to learn more about it and see where it goes.  I know this is only the beginning of me learning about educational life in Spain.  I cannot imagine something like this happening in the States, unless a charter school begins a “Dual Immersion” program, or something of the sorts.  As a teacher here, I am so excited to broaden my knowledge of education and hope that we can all {as teacher bloggers and blog readers} start sharing what we do and what we know, so that we can all be better teachers.  What do you think about this strike?  What do you think about having to learn a new language?  Students having to learn a new language?  Have you ever heard or seen anything similar happen?   I cannot wait to see what you have to say.
In other, far less serious, news- be sure to check out my GIVEAWAY!!  You can win $25 to Teachers Pay Teachers!!  Go enter here NOW!!  It ends tomorrow J
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  1. I can't even imagine how hard that must be! Best of luck to you.

  2. So excited I found another intermediate blogger! Thank you for the opportunity to enter your giveaway! Fingers crossed!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  3. Wow. I can't imagine! Thanks for sharing as I found your post very interesting! (...And I must say, I'm REALLY bummed that I missed your giveaway!) I've been so busy and got behind on my blog reading. Oh well. :)
    Crafting Connections