Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spanish, English, Spanish, English

Sunday, 5-8-11

Sometimes I forget what language I’m speaking. Occasionally I’ll say something in English that I mean to say in Spanish and other times I’ll say something in Spanish that I mean to say in English. I think this is a good thing. I think it means I’m becoming more comfortable with the Spanish language. It seems to be flowing a little more natural every day. And slowly but surely I’m getting there.

Even though today is Sunday it has been a day of teaching. I had my very first community English class today at the Pastoral House. It was kind of a last minute decision made last week. The class started at 3:00pm today. At first there were only two people and then four more people came. So I had six all together. Not bad. I was worried that either nobody would show up or the entire world would be here. It’s nice to have a small class. Two of the people in the class are teachers which I think it great. They can teach their students the English they learn in this class.

I felt more prepared for this class since I’ve been teaching at the boy’s school for a while now. I have a better feel for how I want the lessons to go and what things to emphasize. Once everyone had showed up I introduced myself and greeted everyone. We started out with the very basics just like in school. We worked on pronunciation of the letters of the alphabet and talked about pronunciation in general. Everyone took notes and it was weird because they were all so quiet. It was definitely a different atmosphere than teaching at the boy’s school.

Though it was really hot in the chapel, which is where I taught, everyone did well and seemed to enjoy the class. The class lasted until 4:00pm. I don’t want to make it longer than an hour because after that people’s brains start getting fried. I prefer quality instead of quantity. When class was over I said goodbye to everyone and told them I hoped to see them next week. We’ll see who shows up.

After my English class was over it was time for me to have a Spanish class. One of the teachers is from the boy’s school and offered to teach me Spanish after my English class. I eagerly agreed. Kathy sat in the class as well. Our Spanish techer also started at the very beginning for us. Of course, the class was all in Spanish which I think is great. Looking back, I wish I would have taken Spanish in college, but I’m glad that I can get some instruction now from someone who is a teacher and a native Spanish speaker.

I’m hoping to learn some proper grammar in the class. I can memorize new words but forming them into sentences that are grammatically correct is where I need help. However, my ability to spell and punctuate things correctly is already better than many Salvadorans. I don’t mean for that to sound arrogant, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of people here do not spell words correctly and sometimes punctuation is almost non-existent. For example, I’ve seen the name of one of the caseríos here in Berlín spelled at least four different ways and I have no idea which is correct. As for punctuation, I’ve seen run-on sentences that are entire paragraphs instead of being broken into 6 different sentences. This is true for kids at the boy’s school, high school students, and even people who are well-educated.

Overall, the lesson went well and I’m excited for the next one. Even though it’s very basic I’m glad to be getting help. I want to make sure I have a really strong foundation so I can keep building correctly on what I know. Plus the teacher is a good person to ask if I have questions about something in Spanish.

Later in the night I called my mom on Skype to say Happy Mother’s Day. She’s taking Spanish classes right now and asks me questions about things she learns in class, something she doesn’t understand, and we practice pronunciation. And if she asks me a question that I can’t answer then I can ask Cecilia who can give me an explanation. We chatted for a while and talked about the names of different foods in Spanish. It’s exciting that she’s learning Spanish and has come so far in such a short amount of time.

There’s no school tomorrow which means I get a break from teaching English. But there are still plenty of things to do so I’m sure I’ll be working on English and Spanish tomorrow as well!

1 comment:

Matt said...

What a great way to learn Spanish. I'm glad you are being able to teach so many people.