• Hola.  Spanish I is learning about school and school-related vocabulary.  Read the following article from a Spanish student who is attending school in USA to learn about how schools in Spain are different than schools in the United States:


    The differences between the American and the Spanish educational system:

    There are so many differences that it’s difficult to begin. The first difference is that there is no “school district”, so parents can choose a public or a private elementary school, religious or not, depending on what they want for their kids. I personally grew up in a public school since I was 4 until I was 12. At that point, I had to change to a different school for “High school” because the grades in Spain are different as well. Spanish children attend elementary school from age 3 to 5,  middle school from age 6 to 12, and finally the high school, from age 13 to 18. Although I’ve never attended American elementary school or middle school, but I’ve attended enough high school to dictate the variations between Spanish schools and John Jay.

    Something that I noticed on the first day was how big the school is and how many students there are. In fact, the John Jay class of 2017 has a larger capacity than all grades in my Spanish school combined! My graduating class in Spain consists of 60 people. Obviously, the first day of school I was totally lost! Moving from one class to the next? What was that about? I had never done that before. In Spain, the students remain in one class the whole day (from 9:15 to 5) and the different teachers come in to teach the subject. We have a 20-minute break between periods 2 and 3 for the kids from grades 7th through 12th and then an hour and a half break to have lunch between periods 4th and 5th .

    Another large difference is the classes. There is hardly any room for choice of classes in Spain. We take the same classes every year, with an increasing level of complexity. The only choice we are allowed to make is deciding between two “branches”: science (with physics, chemistry, biology and “harder” math) or humanities (more history, economics and basic math). Once one has chosen his/her branch for tenth grade, it is difficult to switch it. Of course, this choice limits college major options significantly, because, for example, if one choses humanities, he or she will not have the background knowledge necessary to take the pre-med track. Everyone must take Spanish literature and language, history, and gym classes. There is a second language offered: French. Those not in French can choose between computer science and art. There is no chance of taking an architecture, marine biology, phycology or ceramics class, and there is no possibility for distinctions like AP or honors. Rather, the only level distinction is in English class, which doesn’t offer any extra credit for the people in the highest level.

    In terms of difficulty, I have to say that Spanish schools are harder than American ones. I go to a private Catholic school, and I must work hard to get good grades. Teachers make all the difference. I don’t know if I have been extremely lucky with the teachers that I’ve had at John Jay this year, but I have noticed that they help students a lot. Even though John Jay is not easy at all, teachers lessen the difficulty with the extra help classes, review packets, etc.

    As for extra-curricular activities and sports, Spanish schools have none: no soccer (“football” in spanish), basketball, volleyball or tennis teams. Absolutely nothing. No clubs, and of course, no prom, homecoming or any other school dances. There’s a student play and a musical every year, but that is it. The school does not offer students to partake in activities after classes, so the students are not expected to do any. If a student wants to play sports, he or she must do it outside of school, which really diminishes the sense of school spirit. 

    In conclusion, I think you should all feel proud of your school and yourselves, because you are the students that make it so welcoming and enjoyable.