and everyone just looked on. Both teachers and students. I didn’t actually see the fight but half the school seemed to be gathered outside the school gates. I was surprised to see teachers just watching…
and I was laughing and looking at teachers like, What’s going on? Why isn’t anyone doing anything?
I’m used to teachers in the United States being proactive and immediately intervening. Thankfully, growing up I didn’t see many fights at school but I knew when there was “word a fight broke out,” teachers and the principal were immediately there.
The head teacher came out and asked the Social Science teacher, What’s happening? Go and separate the students. He just shrugged and looked on. She went straight away to the gates but by then the students were walking away.
I asked the Social Science teacher (whom I assist on Mondays), Why did no one intervene? And why did the head teacher tell you to break up the fight? Is it because you were the only man there?
His response is in Spain, “teachers can get in trouble by the parents and/or police because parents can claim that you injured their child…It’s better to call the police. And yes, she asked me because I’m a man.”
“Last time I intervened in a fight was 10 years ago. In the States, the head teacher/principal has more control and more power but not in Spain. Teachers don’t have much power here.”
And then he mentioned, “now people have a lot more freedom and more power. Remember, Spain used to be under a dictatorship…”
“…now I think children have too much power and too many rights,” he said. Hmmm. Something to ponder as I don’t know enough about the history of Spain, Franco dictatorship or kids/students rights in Spain to form an opinion from his statement.
It was a moment of reflection and reminder of how easy it is to compare everything to what I know, where I’m from and what I’m accustomed to.
What are things that have surprised you/seemed really different while teaching abroad?