Catriona McCabe

Catriona is in Spain on her year abroad from University of Strathclyde. She is linked with Cairns Primary in South Lanarkshire.

So I guess I'm a profe now

Hola everyone! I have been so very busy!! I only found out where I would be teaching the FRIDAY BEFORE I STARTED on the following Monday, so apologies for not having had time to update you all on this! Anyway, I am going to dedicate this whole blog post just to my first few weeks in the school and I’ll post a seperate one on what I’ve been getting up to outside of the classroom!

First of all, I work 16 hours a week in a primary school se llama “CEIP El Trigal” in La Serna, Fuenlabrada (pronounced:Fwen-la-vrada). Mirar on the mapa! My piso is where the azul dot is and the rojo dot is my school.


It’s around a 40 minute journey by train and this is definitely close by, compared to some of the other language assistants’ schools! One friend has to get dos metros and then a bus every morning! Here is a picture of my timetable:

Photo(Sorry it's so small I'm really bad with computers!)

I work until 2pm most days, I have a half day on Tuesdays and I am off Fridays too!

I teach a few different classes, mostly primary 1-3 (every 3 weeks I teach a p6 class) and once a week I teach the infantils (the 3 year olds in the nursery)! I’m not allowed to speak Spanish in front of the children so I have to pretend I don’t understand which can sometimes be very tricky! This is probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced so far at the school.

There are a lot of similarities between Spanish and Scottish schools but there are some differences which are taking a bit of getting used to!

Casual Ropa

So probably the biggest difference is that the children DO NOT wear school uniforme! Although I’ve heard some private schools do enforce a dress code.

This is a strange concept for us and even most of the teacher’s don’t dress as formally as what teacher’s at home do. So I can wear jeans and even leggings to school! I do still try and dress smart unless I’ve run out of laundry!(Side note: Sharing a washing machine with 4 other girls is not easy). One day last week one little girl came to school wearing a Loch Ness Monster camiseta. I think this must of been an attempt to make me feel more at home jaja (how the Spanish type haha).

No Ms,Miss,Mrs or Mr aqui!

The children call me and all of the other teachers by their first names! They might shout “teacher” or “profe” if they can’t be bothered calling you by name. The teacher - pupil relationship is very relaxed in Spain. I don’t know how many children hug me on a daily basis but it’s a lot! One little boy from my p1 class told me I’m his favourite teacher and he loves me but I had to pretend not to understand or he would know I speak Spanish! BROKE MY HEART.

“Wait, this is breakfast? It’s 12 o’clock. No entiendo.”

So Spaniards aparentamente pretty much skip breakfast! It’s not the most important meal of the day here. Oh No. That’s lunch of course! Breakfast to them is a big cup of coffee in the morning, possibly with a piece of fruit or a doughnut. The strange looks I get on the train in the morning for eating my yoghurt, museli and blueberries started to make sense after my flatmate told me people a) don’t eat that early and b) never ever ever eat on public transport. So OOPS. Still my cuerpo can’t cope without food until 12pm so I still have my morning museli. “Real” breakfast at the schools (when you would have your morning break) is different as they keep working on until until they stop for their “Breakfast” at 12. I just did not undertand this. When they finish school at 2pm THEN they have lunch. Some kids stay for lunch in the canteen and others go home. Oh and the teachers get a free breakfast of jamon, queso, chorizo, pan, dulces, fruta y cafe. It’s fantastico. Probably the highlight of my day but I do love food.


It’s become clear to me in recent weeks, that being a native English speaker is a hot commodity around here. I already have quite a few private classes that I teach after school hours:

On Mondays: Guille (5 años) y Inés (8 años)

On Wednesdays: Paula (5 años) y Jaime (8 años)

I am taking on new pupils next week for Tuesdays also, an adult and a group of 3 year olds; so busy busy! I now have to turn classes away!

If you have any questions or requests, as always ask away!

Hasta luego,


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