Thursday, October 20, 2011


I still consider myself a student, although I am actually doing a little teaching now. I am learning Spanish by living in Spain. I am a language assistant in Corrales, Huelva, Andalucia, Spain. It has been a major flip-flop, or role reversal for me.

For the past 22 years of my life, I was sitting at the desk, listening to the teacher and taking notes. Now I am in front of the class, hoping they are listening and understanding me. Now I am asking questions. Now I am trying to get them to talk.

Each class is a little different. In math and science, I have presented some lessons in English. The teachers then explain in Spanish that which is not clear. Today I was in the first English class. Today I was given a sheet of paper with questions about why they study english, what they want to use it for, etc. I used these and improvised some of my own questions as well.

The problem was, out of 30 or 40 students, the same students were answering the questions. Tomorrow will include a lot of the same activities-- asking the questions. But I really want to get the students talking more in a conversation form rather than question and answers from a sheet of paper. Rather than me asking "Have you been to an English-speaking country," and them answering, "Yes, England," or something like this a detailed answer would be better. And if that answer could naturally lead to another question, either from me to the students or from the students to me. That may be a step to take tomorrow-- just let them know that if they want to ask me a similar question at some point, they can. Hopefully pictures might help as well.

But right now it is a little awkward. I may ask a question and get a no. And then there is no where to go from there. I am not a great conversationalist yet. I'm not a great public speaker. Hopefully that also will improve with time. But for now, conversation helps a lot. Otherwise I feel like I am standing in front of the class, stuttering and rambling. It is a little awkward in those gaps when I am trying to come up with something to ask, especially when the questions do not always flow.

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