Thursday, December 11, 2008

Memories of Being a Student and Forced Concerts

Now that I'm taking Spanish classes, I remember more of what it's like to be a student. And to be fair, it wasn't that long ago that I was one. But I now remember how much I don't want to do homework. I remember how bored I get in the class, even though I'm the only student and it's one on one tutoring, essentially. I remember that even though I'm paying for these classes, I'd rather be far away. And, as this is a language class, I remember how most of what goes on is probably lost in translation.

I didn't even know that I was assigned homework last night. But a better example of this is when I read a story in Spanish in class. I'm able to read it and kind of understand it, but at the same time I'm not getting the point with perfection. We move on and then the idea is lost. This has made me realize that what I do in my own English classes is probably very similar, if not worse. Granted, I'm doing some advanced Spanish, and they're in intermediate English, but I can see now that they probably don't understand half of the things I say, even if they nod their heads in agreement. To quote a song by Spoon, "Everybody's at disadvantage speaking in their second language."

If it will teach me anything, however, it's just that a student is likely to get bored, not want to be in class, and not understand the material. Yet they still want to learn it. And there comes in the great challenge of being a teacher. Somehow, I have to overcome the gap in their understanding, make them follow along and enjoy it too. It's not easy. I think it's this reason that school systems can wind up with so many burned out teachers who just don't care anymore. It's a tough profession.

In the next few weeks there will be many parties and dinners at the university for the pre-Christmas and New Year's celebrations. Tonight there was a concert put on by the Language Department. All of the language professors had to go even though some of us had class at the time. Though we were working on oral presentations, I had to stop class an hour early so we could go to the concert. Only some of the students stayed because there was no room to sit down, but those who did stay were some of the loyal students from my class last semester.

I found it funny that the department should put on a concert to enjoy the arts, yet make it mandatory, as if we were elementary school kids who had to go to an assembly. The songs were in a number of different languages, including English, Spanish, French, and German. Some were traditional Christmas songs like "Silent Night" (though it was in German as "Still Nacht"). "Fools Rush In," by Elvis Presley was also sung.

The concert was good and though it didn't last longer than an hour, I was itching to get out of there after a long day on campus. Because I'm taking Spanish in between my classes, I don't have enough time to go home anymore, so I spend 8 hours at the university. They're tiring days and I'm glad to finally get home and relax for the night. Tomorrow, however, I'll be going out with my students again, as it's one of their birthdays. I'll most likely be exhausted all day Friday, just in time to start the weekend.

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