February 4, 2016

Tutoring Troubles

Trying to make the most of my time in Spain, I applied for a tutoring job through my study abroad program where I would teach a child English for one hour each week at their home.  I chose to work with a four-year-old girl, thinking that tutoring would be more like play time.  I had nannied a three-year-old boy over the summer, so I felt familiar with the behaviors of the age group.  Though I arrived with a lesson plan that included role playing and silly songs, nothing could have prepared me for the challenge I chose.

With a general English language knowledge level of a four-year-old native speaker, nothing I had organized reached my student’s abilities or captured her attention.  Because she was at home in her own room with her mother just feet away, she did not want to focus on what I brought, and instead threw a fit to do her activity of choice.  I tried to adjust the day’s lesson to what she wanted to do, but I felt helpless wasting time speaking to her in English through her tears and protests in Spanish.

With the first session more of a learning experience for me than for her, I will be changing my “fun” instructional songs and verbal games to keep my student engaged.  I am open to any entertaining teaching ideas!  Though Week 1 could have gone better, it was not a waste.  My first tutoring paycheck is going towards a new straightener, because Spanish electricity finally got the best of my American appliance.

 

Primark

On the quest for a straightener (which I ended up purchasing at El Corte Inglés, of course), I wandered into Primark, a fast-fashion clothing store that had been brought to my attention from incessant praise from my peers and the often overwhelming number of customer bags spotted on the metro.  The hype was not without backing.  Similar to Forever 21, the key to Primark is knowing that you’re buying low-quality items for high-popularity status.  Trends were in abundance and prices were cheap.  Though I am saving most of my funds for travel, Primark is perfect for wallet-friendly retail therapy.

 

Sienna

My roommates and I passed Sienna and its outdoor seating area to and from the metro, daily.  For how inconspicuous the exterior appears, we were surprised at the amount of people frequenting the restaurant.  After some observation, we concluded that it had to be the pizza.  Spain is no Italy, but the Spaniards have high food standards that Domino’s Pizza just doesn’t achieve.  With faith in the locals’ pizza judgement, we made a dinner date for Sienna and were not disappointed.  Though personal pizza preferences vary, everyone loved the thin crust and diverse topping options offered.  Sienna is now our go-to pizza place in Spain.  Next visit’s dish to try?  Dessert pizza.

And speaking of dessert, my roommates and I also noticed that Sienna owns the currently under construction ice cream shop just steps away from our apartment.  When warm weather comes and Heladeria Sienna opens its doors, pizza and ice cream will be a dangerous combination.

 

Destination Locations

 

Paz, Amor, Madrid

A.J.H.

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