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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Schooling Mama

Yesterday I had to attend a "reunion de los familias" at the school. It sounds fun, right? It sounds like a family reunion or a party. Um, no. This is a meeting. A come sit in chairs designed for 3-year olds and listen to the teacher explain the proper way to outfit and bring your child to school. Entirely in Spanish.

Just when I think my Spanish is improving, God smacks my arrogant a** back into place.

First - I don't know why I think my Spanish is improving. The only practice I get is to talk with our maid. She is very nice and we can communicate fine, but I think it is more that she has learned to decipher jenish then that I have improved that much.

Second - What was I thinking? I was worried about being on time. Made it. I was worried that I might need pen and paper once I got there (and all I had was a black sharpie). They had some materials. I was thinking it was a bilingual school. I was thinking someone would simultaneously (or in short breaks) translate for me, I was thinking that it would be quick, I was thinking I could handle it. I was thinking wrong.

I got to the school, got to the class, sat in the forementioned chair and just before the teacher started, she leaned over to me and said, "I need to speak Spanish, but I will help you when it is over."

It began. She spoke soft and she spoke fast. And there were overhead fans. There was just no-way. But I didn't realize just how frustrating this was until there was parental feedback/discussion and I didn't understand that either. ONE HOUR LATER - I am ready to cry. My poor kids have been waiting for me to finish this and I haven't even really started. I left and made arrangements for the kids to stay a little longer and went back for "my version."

It went quick, between the little bit that I got (more than I thought), looking at the teacher's own notes (also in Spanish, but my reading gist is much better than my listening gist), my anxiousness to get going (did I mention I now needed to find a bathroom as well), and some commen sense, we were through it in 10 minutes. Should have done this in the first place.

So, I understand it and I made a special appointment with Bella's teacher for an individual run-down. At least I am smart enough not to sit through it again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Over the past two years, I have several times left a Spanish lesson or a class in Spanish to run to the bathroom to cry... the frustration level gets HIGH.

July 06 (six months after arriving) I signed up for an acupuncture class. It improved my Spanish immeasurably but in the end it was just too difficult.

Hal and the boys are downstairs now in their Spanish lesson with Jorge which they have 3 days a week for two hours each time. I can't do it - I need a homestay at this point: total immersion. A class makes me totally crazy. At the end of theirs, the boys are all fried. And the little boys at least are practically fluent! Breaking it down into verb tenses is so hard, but they can talk and understand - like magic!

It's hard to learn a new language - but the rewards are great. Try Pimsleur. Twenty minutes a day trains your brain to hear at least - that is half the battle!