I can’t say that I have ever been the type of person that has ever considered induction and orientations meetings to be a necessary event. If I am honest I was even a little skeptical about participating in the Induction Meeting that kick-starts the program with Meddeas. However, I, of course, booked my flight to attend the orientation meeting in September.
The Induction Meeting: My First Day in Spain as Part of the Program
Before I know it, the program is about to start: it’s September 7th and I find myself sitting in a room with other participants. It is essentially a room of strangers, who by the end of the day will become colleagues and close friends (some closer than others of course).
I realized quite quickly that this meeting was essential to every one of us about to start our teaching journey. We walked in thinking it was just going to be an average informative induction, but within the first 10 minutes of arriving, it was clear that one of the most important reasons for this gathering was support. Moving to a different country for 9 months is a daunting process for anyone, especially when you feel you are doing it alone. But when you suddenly enter a room of people that are all facing the same challenges and process, and some of those people will, in fact, be in the same city or town that you have been placed in, you find yourself feeling more connected and less isolated than when you started.
The Meddeas team, along with the university staff, understands the importance of creating support for its candidates. Thus, the Induction Meeting is not just a day to learn and inform, it consists of a multitude of elements.
An Informative and Personal Induction Meeting
As I mentioned earlier, moving country is an extremely daunting process. Generally, you will find yourself facing many cultural changes and shocks during your first couple of months in your new home. One of the goals for the Meddeas team during this Induction Meeting is to help you transition and evolve comfortably into your new environment.
From the start of your day, you are provided with a timetable which lists multiple tutorials which encompass several different cultural, professional and ethical practices which you will attend during the course of the day. The aim of these tutorials is to inform the candidates as best as possible about the differences in culture and attitude you will encounter throughout your time in Spain.
First Session: Meddeas Team, Culture, and First Tips
The first meeting consists of an introduction to some of the Meddeas workers, who will be a constant presence in supporting you as you go along your journey. You will also learn about the different things you can expect to encounter once you start teaching in your selected school, for example the highly interested nature of the Spanish people, and how they will automatically treat you like family. The first sections of the meeting are also essential for final documentation and signings; you will receive instructions based on the contracts and documents which you are given on the day.
Second Session: Responsibilities and Expectations at School
After this, there is a presentation with the different responsibilities that will be expected of you as a Language Assistant. For those of you starting in the future, please don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there is one thing I can say for certain, it’s that you should ask questions if you have any. The staff is more than happy to inform any doubts you may have.
Workshops: Preschool, Primary, and Secondary Teaching
After these two group presentations, you are separated into smaller groups more specific to the program and age group that you have been placed in. Then you attend a series of highly entertaining workshops. Each lecture was given by incredible teachers, who are so passionate about their work, and this made practicing with them such a joy. The workshops’ aim is to broaden your knowledge of different activities and methods that you can use in the classroom with your future students.
Thinking back on it now, I remember how vibrant those hand-on lectures had been. Everyone spent most of their time being completely involved and there was quite literally never a dull moment. The activities that had been prepared caused by a lot of laughter and certainly leave you with some memorable moments. One in particular stands outs where we were introduced to a handy vocabulary game that we could try with our students, called “Word Slap”. I had never heard of it before, but I’m so glad I know about it now, as I literally use it in so many of my classes. This is an important aspect of the induction meeting: you come away feeling that you’ve really learned things that you can apply to your work experience.
Some Other Instructions and Highlights of the Induction Meeting Day
The workshops and presentations are there for a reason. While there are maybe a lot of people who have taught in a classroom before and have plenty of ideas, there are also just as many people who have never had to teach a class full of children in their life. So trust me when I say that you will leave the Induction Meeting feeling a heck of a lot more confident than when you went in.
Oh, and don’t worry you’re not just sat in a room all day with no break. You are given plenty of breaks and are also provided with a plentiful amount of food (there are even vegetarian options). All I can say is make use of these breaks to talk to the other candidates, you may find the person that will be teaching with at the same school as you (which I did).
I know I mentioned it earlier but I really can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to take away some form of connection from this induction, everyone is going through the same things, we are all there as a learning curve, and we are all hoping to experience that magic that Spain has to offer. The induction meeting prepares you to jump into this totally new journey, and trust me: it’s an incredible journey to be had.
2017/18 Posted by Kate B.
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