I’m writing this from the poolside in Barcelona (who says teachers have it too easy?!) in the glorious sunshine. It’s not all good news, my Irish heritage has blessed me with ginger hair and I don’t deal with the direct sunshine too well.
I’ve also got 29 students with me who have been at various points, lively, loud, boisterous, excitable, respectful, amazed, shattered and just plain hot!!! They’ve seen things they’ve never been introduced to before. In one case it was a beach. It wasn’t particularly a sandy Spanish beach that they hadnt seen by age 15, just a beach of any kind.
We’ve visited the nou camp and marvelled at the scale (and the ruthlessness of the marketing), we’ve hung out on the beach, had dinner together, had a Spanish lesson and then played a football match against a local team.
The Spanish lesson showed the students that the language was nothing to be scared off. Their confidence has grown and they’ve tried to engage in some simple use of the language with the locals. They didn’t all go to the Spanish lesson as some were on the football arm of the trip and this led to perhaps the most enlightening moment.
Our lads played the “youth” team of a local football club. We were outmatched by a couple of years in nearly all cases and were certainly physically inferior. Technically our hosts were much better too but a bit of English grit held us out to see half time at nil nil. We lost 4-0 but as well as the amazing spirit out lads displayed there was a moment in the second half that blew me away. One of our year 10 lads who doesn’t speak Spanish and has not studied it said he wished he could speak the language. Furthermore he vowed to go home, change his language settings on his playstation to Spanish and learn a bit!!!!
Like I said, we lost but like so many football managers “I’ll take the positives!!!!”