Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Yesterday brought another day of subbing, my first job in two weeks. I played an ESL teacher for two three-hour block classes (English as Second Language - Spanish speaking students in an English class). Many of my students were fresh from Mexico and the level of English known was varied, but limited in general. The students were fabulous though, and I had a really fun time teaching them. I spent most of the day on my feet helping the students read and write out the definitions to their vocabulary words. I "trampled" through fields banging my hands on desks and drew pictures of flowers normal and then broken in half. I "striked" [sic] and "snapped" "spurted" and "crawled;" I explained "unnoticed" (you've gotta look up "noticed" in the dictionary and then put a no or not in front of it) and then "harmless" (less means no or without). "Poison" and "poised" are right next to each other in the dictionary, so look them up together. No you're name is not "Snoop Doggy Dog," write your real nombre on your paper. Five minute break - bano, agua - do it now if you want to. I would give instructions or reprimand a student in English and he or she would respond to me in Spanish. We would both stare at each other assuming that we understand our respective foreign languages, then I would shrug my shoulders and walk on to the next student. It was fun. They laughed at my foolishness, and I laughed at how ridiculous the whole scenario seemed. I now know how my French teachers in Montpellier must have felt teaching French to 15 students all from different countries. The interesting thing though is that when I studied in France at that institute for foreigners, often the one language we had in common was not french, but english. If someone from Germany didn't understand the French vocab word, a Sweedish student would give the English equivalent to which Germany would nod his head in appreciation. Strange. And here I am teaching teenagers living in America the word for "madurez": maturity, the process of growing up. "Little girl, big girl. You grow up. Little brain, big brain. You get smarter, wiser. And there is emotional growth . . . well, um . . . anyway, little girl, big girl: maturity.