Friday, October 29, 2010

Ittt's FRIDAY!

Four-day weekend, boo-yah.

What started out to be somewhat of a rough Sunday evening improved considerably as I surrendered some of my control-freakiness in the ensuing days. I've been struggling with the fact that when I go into the classroom a big part of the functionality of the day depends on the students, and I couldn't ever know exactly what I was going to get when I arrived in school. I teach 18 different classes in a week, meaning continuity is really tough, along with name-memorization, but by this week (I think my third or fourth?) I felt like I had developed a rapport with a lot of the kids and could interact with them more on their level. Crucial, I think, when you're teaching a foreign language because, guess what, it's intimidating. Imagine going up to a person and doing something that you know you can't do as well as he or she can. Now imagine that that person is six years old. Because that's what it's like when you're learning language número dos: you suck, for a very long time. Plus any kindergartener without a lisp or stutter or other obvious language-inhibitor is almost guaranteed to have better pronunciation and sentence formation and overall ability than you, at least if your language experience is limited to the classroom, as is the case for most of my students. I had a private lesson on Wednesday where the guy asked if I minded if he smoked, and proceeded to light and let burn three cigarettes throughout the course of our hour and a half lesson. I asked him if he always just let his cigarettes burn without inhaling them and he said he forgot to because he was speaking English, and that he rarely smokes but the English language makes him nervous.

The English lessons are actually good for me too I think because I usually pick up a couple new Spanish words along the way. Cutre, for example, means "shabby" or "run-down" (in reference to South America, sorry S.A.), and I learned from the drawing of una gamba that it is neither a bean nor a crab but rather a shrimp. My bachillerato class yesterday also taught me that payo pony is used for Sudamericanos because they're short. Like a pony. Probably this is not entirely racially sensitive, fyi. I can't remember the name for Brits (guiris?), but it comes from the fact that when they come to Spain they drink a lot of beer and their skin turns red. Which is pretty much my same reaction to drinking white wine but in my case it's not due to sun-burn. We ran out of time in the lesson for them to tell me all their cultural stereotypes, but they left happy when I told them we could finish next week.

Pues, this weekend I have to prep for two presentations next week as well as celebrate HALLOWEEN. People in Spain don't celebrate but of course we're going to do it up Estadounidense-style and do the same thing we do every weekend only this time we'll be wearing cardboard cat-ears and the like. Interesting United States fact: U.S.ers create 40% of the world's garbage while only representing 5% of the world's population. Think I'll be making my ears out or recycled cardboard this year. . .

This kind of makes me want to throw-up when I look at it/reminds me disturbingly of your average corset, but it's actually just a poor little turtle with a plastic ring of trash around his middle.

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