Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spanish Classes

Kristen says...

I've become a student again.

Not a college student, not even high or middle school, but an elementary student.

One of my good friends, an elementary teacher, was assigned to teach Spanish as a Second Language (SSL) at my school for four of her students. All are non-native Spanish speakers (at least one is not even a native English speaker) and so are a year "behind" their native speaking friends, and need SSL class.

A week or so ago, I happened to be down chatting with my friend when her class was about to begin. I started flipping through the three Honduran curriculum workbooks, and realized that completing the assignments there would be a challenge for me. I told my friend I thought the books were about my Spanish "level", and she offered to me to join her class every day.

So I did. :)

Now, every day from 10:10-10:50 I lock my classroom (it's my planning time, don't worry, I'm not abandoning my students) and head down to the elementary building, and become a student.

And you know what? It's hard!!

I forgot how hard it is to be a student, with homework and quizzes and things! It's even harder than college, where everyone's in the same boat, and you have "all" your time to devote to school and homework, and you don't have your class every day...

For example, last week in class we watched "Hans Mi Erizo ("Hans my Hedgehog"), part of the Spanish version of Jim Henson's "The StoryTeller." I think that story is probably confusing even in English (it includes a man who looks like a hedgehog, a huge chicken, and other weird things...) but I had NO idea what was going on!

Then yesterday we started reading a book called "Brotes," which my friend explained (in Spanish...did I mention the entire class is in Spanish?) were kind of like Chicken Pox...yet the book we read was about a girl going to a new school and the class growing brotes! All I could think was, "How do you grow Chicken Pox?" I was expecting this girl to bring Chicken Pox to the school and they would have a "Pox Party" or something, but really it was about the class growing a garden. (I finally figured it out in a discussion with a fellow "Gringo" teacher today, that brotes probably means quickly growing plants, or plants that pop up quickly like Chicken Pox...)

Anyway, our teacher asked us what level we thought the book was...turns out it was a 2nd grade book!!! After years of testing at the highest reading level possible (in English), I found out I read at a 2nd grade level in's very humbling.

But lest you think I am complaining, please let me assure you that I am not! I signed up for this class fully knowing that it would be a challenge, and desiring it. I KNOW this is going to help my Spanish so much, it's just really hard to get myself back into "student mode."

For example...tomorrow I have a spelling test.

I don't remember the last time I had a real spelling test...I think it was in 7th grade, and I was in spelling level "C" ("A" was the highest, and "C" was either the lowest or just one above "D", I can't remember.) I actually think I'm a good speller, and I'm pretty sure I was only in level "C" for about 3 weeks because I wasn't studying enough, (or at all), but still...I'm really kind of nervous for this test.

Especially because when the list of 10 words was handed out to us on Monday, I only knew what half of the words meant! At least in 7th grade spelling I knew the meaning of all the I'm dealing with words like tiza (chalk), rizo (curly hair--think Shirley Temple), and liso (straight hair), which I'd never actually seen before. We also have risa (smile--sounds quite similar to rizo, because the "z" and "s" have pretty much the same sound in Spanish), salió (the ´is important, because it's a past tense word), and saco (without the ´, because sacó means you/he/she left, and saco (sans ´) means a man's suit coat).

I feel really lucky to be able to have this challenge, but the spelling quizzes are going to be tough. We also have vocabulary words during the week, but I'm not sure if we will be having quizzes on those...I kind of hope not, because "entusiasmado" and "cuidadosamente" are hard to spell without looking. (Entusiasmado means enthusiasm or enthusiastic, and cuidadosamente means to be careful...) Also, did you know deslizar means "to slide"? I didn't either, until Monday. :)

Anyway, I need to get back to studying my Spanish, but I plan to blog again soon...I've been having some "old soul" moments lately I'm interested to discuss.



  1. i just looked for the "like" button to like this post. seriously. too much time on facebook. ;) anyway, i officially "like" this!

  2. There is a "like" button! :) I added it below! :)

  3. Well..I hope you can read my commnet in my lenguage...and forgive my english

    A mi encanto tu post.
    Se que es difícil aprender otro idioma.
    Yo estudio ingles de por vida, creo que es por eso que veo mis series y películas en ingles
    ah!! y leo libros y blogs en ingles tambien, así que de alguna manera eres mi maestra!! jajaja!

    Saludos desde el mero centro de Teguz!

  4. Sonrisa stands for smile in english. Risa is more like laugh. I can volunteer to help anytime I can with your spanish. Lau.


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