Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rant #5

I was in the depths of despair (remember Anne Shirley?) Friday as I drove to school. I was mentally calculating exactly how many more times I would have to go to Spanish class over the remainder of the semester, eleven more weeks. Twenty-nine more times x fifty minutes per class equals a whole lot of misery. But it's too late to turn back now.

When I got to class, I told CP that I if the teacher yelled "Venga,Venga" or "Rapido" one more time, I just might have to kick him in the shin. She pointed out the he had been really "pissy" lately. I thought that was an understatement. I usually don't know what is going on in class anyway, and an angry, impatient teacher does not help. Whatever I do know how to say in Spanish gets buried under the terror I feel when required to speak in this class. As a result, something stupid usually comes out of my mouth, and I know it as soon as I've said it, but it is too late to take it back.

Fortunately, we had a new teacher in class Friday. He looked just the same as the original teacher, but he was much nicer. He smiled, he was friendly, and he didn't yell, not even when he said "Rapido". And most shocking of all, he spoke English! Not much English, but a few sentences. It was more English than I have heard in class since he read the syllabus to us the first week of school. If this nice teacher stays, I just might survive the semester with my sanity intact, and he won't have to fear for the safety of his shins.

It's no big surprise that I'm the oldest student in class. And I'm older than the teacher. All the students are about twenty, and for the most part, have taken Spanish all through high school, which wasn't very long ago for them. I can't even begin to speak as well as they do, and I feel very intimidated by this fact. Added to this is an intimidating teacher (and I'm not alone in this feeling)and my overall feeling is that I'm swimming in the ocean with no life jacket.

I respect his decision to forbid English being spoken in class, and he is entitled to hand out avisos (warnings) to anyone who does. And it is not entirely his fault that I feel so terrorized in class (partly his fault, but not entirely). It's not his fault that I apparently don't perform well under pressure. When we have the nice teacher, he calls on me to speak, I guess to try to draw me out of my wall-flower mode. This is when I become paralyzed with fear and say stupid things. If only there was a rewind button. I don't know if my age is an issue, or if it is my overall lack of experience with speaking the language, but it takes me a little time to get my thoughts together in Spanish to be able to answer a question. I have to think about it longer than the other students; I can't just spit out sentences like they do.

It isn't all bad news. I'm actually getting good grades on the quizzes and on the skit we had to write and perform in class. That was terrifying as well, but at least I knew in advance what I was supposed to say. We had very little time to prepare, but we pulled it off anyway!

Only eleven more weeks.

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