When I think back about this week, a few moments stand out in my memory...
I tutor a boy who is behind in his class every afternoon. He can do simple addition and subtraction without a problem, but does not recognize and cannot write numbers greater than 20. Thus, I´ve found myself teaching numbers in Spanish to an 11 year old...when I only learned how to say them 7 weeks ago! Needless to say, I am constantly second-guessing myself (am I pronouncing that correctly? why does he have that blank stare on his face? 70 really is setenta in spanish, right?).
We finally split up into our adult classes this week (we´ve been playing games and socializing as a large group until now). I have 3 very sweet ladies who have all completed first grade (and no mas). They can all write their names, read slowly (but not really comprehend), and write some words. However, they don´t know the names of the letters. Yes, like the alphabet. They never learned their ABCs. So, again, I find myself teaching the spanish alphabet to 35 year old ecuadorian mothers. And, again, I just learned it 7 weeks ago. And, AGAIN, I am constantly second-guessing myself and saying the ABCs over and over again in my head to make sure we´re talking about the same letter. Even more tricky, I took German for my first 9 years of schooling and it has reared it´s ugly head as my "default" language when I can´t recall simple spanish words, like letters, numbers and colors. It just so happens that the first 6 letters of the spanish ABCs are the same as the first 6 letters of the german ABCs...thus, but the time we get to "G" who knows if I´m actaully teaching them spanish or german...Nonetheless, they are extremely eager to learn whatever it is I teach them, and my first week with them has already been very rewarding and eye-opening.
I am hungry and in need of a shower, so I will leave you with a funny little tale or two from our book of spanish-speaking woes (ok, we don´t have a book, but between the 17 of us volunteers, we could easily entertain you for hours with our mis-translations and "shit, what did i just say?" moments that occur daily). Jeff (name has not been changed becuase most of you don´t know these people and probably never will...and if you happen to meet them someday, they were already so embarrassed at the time that it doesn´t even matter anymore :)) was collecting his kids from health class to give them directions before they began phy. ed with him. He said "vaya al cuarto de baño y lave las manos, entonces usted puede jugar con mis pelotas" which directly translates to "go to the bathroom and wash your hands, then you can play with my balls." Of course, he was referring to the kickballs he was holding at the time that they would play with in gym class....but still, pretty funny :)
Thanks for reading! Hope all is well in the U.S.!