Day 62: Sarah, Spanish and Latin teacher, Middle and Upper School

[ By on December 14, 2012 ]

Tucked away in our classroom on the second floor of the Hackett building on this sunny day in December, thirteen 6th graders were using regular –AR verbs in complete sentences for the very first time. “¿Hablas español?” I asked. (Do you speak Spanish?) A confused look spread across the classroom as the meaning of the sentence sunk in. One student immediately voiced her concern about the predicament. “I don’t really speak Spanish completely yet, but how can I answer with no if I am answering in Spanish?” “So don’t you think you should answer with sí?” I asked in Spanish with a smile. The next few questions included other languages and other –AR verbs. “¿Hablas francés?” (Do you speak French?) “¿Desayunas en casa o en Riverdale?” (Do you eat breakfast at home or at Riverdale?) “¿Escuchas a tus profesores?” (Do you listen to your teachers?) “¿Estudian tus amigos?” (Do your friends study?)

As they slowly formulated their responses, they listened to each other, giggling when their classmates’ answers involved funny, personal additions. “¿Quién cocina en tu familia?” (Who cooks in your family?) I asked one student. “Mi mamá cocina en tu familia.” (My mom cooks in your family.) “¿Tu mamá camina a mi casa y cocina para mi familia?” I asked. (Your mom walks to my house and cooks for my family?) The class burst into an uproar as they all tried to clarify. “No! His mother doesn’t cook for you! She cooks for his family! Don’t you see?”

One student quietly raised her hand in the back row and said, “This is so hard. I have so much to say but we don’t have the words to say it!” I have to agree with this student. It really is a challenge to come up with fun (and sometimes quite funny) conversations with only 16 –AR verbs. But I have laughed along with them and learned a considerable amount about everyone’s breakfast habits and foreign-language speaking abilities. I have learned to have fun with our limited amount of vocabulary. That being said, I think we are all looking forward to learning more. In terms they would understand, yo aprendo también.

Sarah is a Spanish and Latin teacher in the Middle and Upper School at Riverdale. She likes windsurfing, sailing, and her dog, Teddy, and she thinks tmesis is un-frickin’-believable.

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