I've noticed some changes in the past week. Some subtle, some suggestive, some significant little changes.
It's September and from the very first day, the temperature here in Alcala la Real changed - the day remaining as hot as ever but the night time feeling cool. By the third night, we were reaching for an extra layer on our beds - the single sheet that had felt so stifling over the months of July and August now suddenly inadequate. We woke up shivering and disbelieving. The children suggested I dig out their quilts from their summer storage. Please.
On Monday, Ruy and Romy return to school - Ruy to his last year of primary and a feeling of growing up. Mateo has another week to go before he starts in yet another new school. There is one school here that has made leaps and bounds of improvement recently and has a young and enthusiastic teaching staff and we feel it will be better for Mateo than the more plodding style of his current school. Unlike the U.K. there's a steady shuffling around of students between the secondary schools here and Mateo will move with at least one of his friends. It's also slightly nearer to where we live and Ruy will go there next year. We hope and have been assured that he will do at least some of his science subjects in a science lab. in the new school. He hasn't been in one since he arrived in Spain...I suggest this is not a good thing.
We have noticed this last week that the park in front of our house is quiet from about 9 o'clock instead of ringing with the sound of children playing often til midnight. Romy has spent many a late night with her friends, on the swings, playing football, hide and seek or carrying smaller children around in her arms. The silence in the streets now contains the suggestion of earlier bedtimes. Quite rightly too!
I received an email from the head of the Academy where I will be working again from October with my new timetable. A few more hours but spread out over four days and a new examining board's syllabus to get to grips with. Maria has shown great confidence in my abilities and I'm so grateful to her - I will now be sharing the teaching with Toni, the other teacher there - not just providing a spoken English class. I will be doing about 40% of all the teaching but 100% with the final year group. I'm so looking forward to starting again though there's just the suggestion of nerves in my excitement as I take on something a bit different. Up to now, my classes have been full of games, singing and just talking. Soon, I'll be teaching more grammar and supporting the students in reading, writing and listening too. Like a proper teacher.
FR has just returned from 5 days in Budapest as part of an international conference relating to the work of Edward Bond. He's had an absolutely wonderful, inspiring and engaging time. International is stretching it a bit - it's been a European group with representatives from the UK, France, Budapest and Spain. This was the first meeting of a project group looking at taking the work of Bond into schools within the individual countries but also bringing a larger group of students from all four countries together at some point in the future. We were looking forward to one of the 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' breaks. Since we arrived in Spain we have lived in much closer proximity to each other than we'd been used to and sometimes we have felt that a little more space would be appreciated - I have chosen my words very carefully! It was so lovely to have him call me several times a day to share his enthusiasm about his experiences in Budapest and to know that it didn't feel right that I wasn't there with him. And five days seemed such a long time - he seemed to be away for ages. I suggest there is so very much truth in the adage, 'Absence make the heart grow fonder'. And now he's back, there is so much to do that we are going to work together on the Spanish part of the project - so maybe next time there's a conference, we will go together!
If there is a suggestion that the holidays are over, there is the equal suggestion that here, in our house, we are ready to get our teeth into some work, to buckle down and start the new term with renewed enthusiasm. However....
To combat the sense that the holidays are over and it's time to get back to work, tomorrow we will head off to the seaside for one last day on the beach. Well, wouldn't you?