Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tres Dias en una clase dificil.

So, I've spent the last few days subbing High School Spanish during Finals time... and there's always that one class that makes you want to stab your eye out (just one eye, but an eye none the less) to put yourself out of your misery. This particular class was noisy and chatty on Monday, their last normal class before the final, and when I was FINALLY at my limit someone raises their hand to ask me, "So, like, do you actually SPEAK Spanish?" To which I responded with the truth, "Not fluently, but I do speak it well." Which led to a discussion of whether it's possible to learn a language in a classroom environment. I was able to share my personal experience with language. I learned in a classroom, and through use in day to day life and travels, my Spanish has become almost proficient. And not only that, but I've found that I can read French and Italian as well! I've never studied either of these languages, and I certainly can't understand it when it's spoken to me, but I can READ and have a general understanding! In fact, two years ago, when I was in Egypt visiting my dear friend Steph, I spent one day alone at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. If you've ever been privileged to visit that museum, it is AMAZING, but they are just bursting at the seams with artifacts. Only about half of the artifacts are labeled with plaques (the rest are unlabeled, and you're guessing at what you're looking at) and those that DO have plaques could be labeled in some combination of any of these three languages: Arabic, English, French. The thing about Egypt, though, is that it is a major destination for tourists from Spain since it's just across the Mediterranean. And since NONE of the labels in the museum are in Spanish, the tourists from Spain have to hire a tour guide for the museum. So I made my way through the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo reading plaques in English and/or French, or by sneaking in behind a Spanish tour group and listening to the descriptions! All because of some high school and college Spanish classes that gave me the basic tools!

So, not only was I able to encourage these students struggling with basic verb conjugation and Spanish nouns that it CAN be done, but I also somehow managed to earn their respect. Today when they arrived for their Final Exam, I had absolutely no trouble with that class at all! Not only that, but I heard this pain-in-my-butt girl tell someone, "Hey! That's our awesome sub from Spanish" as I walked by her on campus. I really hope that I've inspired them to get to work, and maybe, just maybe to go out and see some of the world!

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