The other day I was pleasantly reminded that my Spanish used to be around the level of “newborn” which for those of you taking language exams lands somewhere before A1…
I’m your typical ‘I took years of Spanish in high school but then got to college and was like wait, QUE?’
It’s not uncommon. I’ve heard the same story at least a hundred times because it is the immediate response to me telling someone that I’m a Spanish teacher. I usually get a sprinkling of phrases for me to, I guess critique and respond with something like”oh wow, you’re so good at saying “como estas” you should pursue Spanish again… your highly authentic one sided conversation really made me want to keep talking about high school Spanish.
I don’t feel offended by those conversations, although I surely could be, and probably should be. I don’t because I was that person, and I won’t because it doesn’t apply to where I teach at all. In Spanish 1 we reviewed the alphabet for all of 5 minutes, and in one class I hate to say, we just didn’t “get to it.”
I have gone from newborn to full blown adopted Mexican. My dream of becoming a Mexican teenager that I never knew I had is pretty much coming true. To clarify, my Spanish is way better after working with a predominantly Latino population in the US than it ever really got in Spain. In Logrono, I was teaching English all morning….and most afternoons…and then hanging out with English speaking friends. I was speaking plenty of Spanish as well with my roommates, and in other daily interactions, but it wasn’t growing and developing like it has been here where I am focused on teaching it.
With that said, my third year of teaching is not only easier because my Spanish is a little more flow-y, but I also am finding my stride with being me. For three (or more) years prior, I was being someone else, or doing things that people said would help, and so they came out about as gracefully as me trying to look like Beyonce when I dance (think un-sexy noodle). Not to say that that doesn’t happen anymore, but I am more aware of it. I’m not stern, I don’t like to yell because I become a tomato, and I’d rather get punched in my healing jaw than tell someone that their plagiarism is so obvious that #icanteven….
Just the other day a kid took what he thought was a low key swig of Gatorade, so I thought I shot him “the look” but he took another sip, so out loud I said I’M LOOKING AT YOU AND IT’S NOT GOOD-got it?. Reading that made me crack up, but the message was received. I will never be that strict teacher- the one that you work really hard for because they are so tough. It sounds awesome, but ultimately I just have to be the teacher that I am. The one that gives you a sticker when you tell a funny story, or takes a few minutes for anecdotes (plus that’s a vocabulary word) about the day or the weekend. I think you can all see the pros and cons to that way of life- don’t worry though, so can I.
Pro is that kids make you things like “frog” (picture below), con is…how did you find so much free time to make that frog during my class? Oh and bless you airborne-I have switched over to the fizzy drink kind though because chewing those giant tablets is not cool.
The other weekend we had the pleasure of attending a super fun wedding so I figured that I should get my makeup done- an area that I have always been helpless in despite the fact that it fascinates me and I love all things beauty and wellness. It was convenient because I also broke out like the teenager that I am deep down inside, so I needed extra help.
I never knew all of the potential hidden in my brows. They are there, but nobody knows because they get all blond in random areas- enter brow pencil. I don’t think I need to look like that at school, but it’s nice to know that I could.
That concludes my week 10, made it through the wire update. I still can’t feel my lower lip, which is really inconvenient for eating and talking when for the most part I feel totally normal. Luckily it doesn’t affect my love life because I don’t have one, so I can’t really comment on how that will play out in the future…ideally the feeling will come back by the time I’m ready to like someone.