Monday, September 19, 2005

When it comes to learning languages, I’ve always sucked.

Looking back at my first grade Spanish class in El Paso, Texas, I remember that old witch Miss Velasquez (God rest her soul, as she’s certainly dead by now) who surely hated my guts because I couldn’t pronounce “Orange” or “Nose” correctly in Spanish.

I can pronounce them now, but as they say, “Too little, too late.”

Miss Velasquez wore her glasses around her neck, on a chain, and carried around a foot long “switch” that she hit us with if we weren’t paying attention. I remember too, that her breath always smelled like cloves.

I was hit a lot, since I was what the faculty dubbed, “A Dreamer.”

Well, everybody dreams right?

Yeah, but you’re evidently NOT supposed to dream during the day…else, you’re labeled the horrific, “DAY DREAMER.”

Nothing much has changed since those early days…I’m still a daydreamer, and I still suck at learning languages.

My payback?

My Buddhist karma has placed me in the opposite position in the classroom…as the LANGUAGE TEACHER, and as luck (did I say luck?) will have it, as a GRADE ONE through THREE English teacher of Thai students.

Wanna venture a guess about one of my biggest problems with these students?

Damn! You folks are quick!

Day Dreamers.

A whole slew of them.

No, I don’t wear my glasses on a chain around my neck.

No, I don’t hit the kids with a stick when they pronounce, “School” as “Sakoool,” or “Kitchen,” as “Chicken.”

But I do spend a fare amount of time cuing Chu, my Thai classroom partner, to get the kids attention when I’m teaching a lesson.

Today, for whatever reason, I was reminded of myself, some forty-four years ago…, which caused me to smile, and shake a finger at one of those dreaded…




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