Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Teachers

I have three language teachers here in Buenos Aires. As a teacher myself, I am very critical of language teachers. I know what I want, I know what I like, but I am not always able to tell my teachers what I need. Even if I do tell them, sometimes, they are not able to do what I want them to. I try to be flexible as a student, but sometimes I get discouraged and don't want to study anymore.

My Italian teacher's name is Blas. He is an Argentine guy who is about 30 years old who studied Anthropology. He also went to Rome and studied Italian for 2 years and since he can speak Italian, he is teaching it here.

In the beginning I liked his class, but now I am beginning to feel uncomfortable. He is very loud and likes to laugh and joke. I don't always understand the jokes, and sometimes he makes jokes about me or the other students. I try to hide in his class and make myself invisible, but he always looks at me and calls on me (even though he doesn't do that to all of the other students equally). I like that he has us work in groups sometimes, but I don't like that there is so much conversation about things that we are not studying. For example, he always asks us what we did on the weekend, but we never studied the past tense, so it is difficult to talk about that. I am learning some things in his class, but I will be happy when it is over because I feel uncomfortable.

My Arabic teacher's name is Ybtisaam. She is originally from Syria, but has been in Buenos Aires for 25 years. She speaks Spanish fluently. Arabic is difficult because we have to learn a new alphabet. Ybti doesn't give us enough time in class to practice things. She goes over things once and then moves on to something new. I need more practice in class. I have to study a lot outside of class because many of the other stdudents in my class already know some Arabic. I felt like I was the lowest student in class. But I am learning. Ybti doesn't make jokes about me and I feel comfortable in her class most of the time. What I don't like is that sometimes she talks about another student when she is not in the room. I don't think it is good for a teacher to do that.

And finally, my Spanish teacher's name is Leo. I started having Spanish lessons in my apartment a few weeks ago. I found Leo on Craigslist. He is great. He is my favorite teacher so far because he gives me what I need the most - practice.

I have had many Spanish teachers, but most of them didn't give me enough time to practice speaking. My last Spanish teacher here in Argentina liked to talk. When I started speaking about something, she would get excited and interrupt me and start talking. I would spend most of our lesson listening to her. But Leo is different. He gets excited and likes to talk too, but he always remembers that I need more speaking practice than listening. After he talks for a bit (I like listening to him), he will always say, "excuse me I'm talking too much" and ask me a question to make me talk more. I am very shy about speaking Spanish and am afraid of making mistakes but he is helping me to have more confidence. We meet for two hours once a week and usually I speak for most of the time. I'm really happy I found him.

It is interesting how different teachers can be. Teaching is very difficult and everyone likes different things in their teachers, but I know as a teacher and as a learner, that practice is really important. I like teachers who give me opportunities to practice and who make me feel comfortable in their classes. Leo is the best teacher I have here in Buenos Aires, and maybe the best teacher I have ever had!


Diane said...

Hi Rick,

We are writing from the 5:15 class with Diane. It is a very interesting story to read about your classes. You have an interesting opinion as a teacher. (Svetlana) I think it is interesting that you are studying foreign languages in a second language so this makes it harder for you. But it's really nice because you are learning Spanish.(Renate) We have the same problem - we need more practice. (Vena) Rick, you have the brain the size of King Kong. A very big brain to put all these languages in. (Haydee) Don't get discouraged because we are having the same problem and we know how you feel (Leslie). Don't give up. If someone can learn another language, you can do it too. (Alex)

We have problems with new words. (Chanh) Sometimes we don't understand what the other students are saying because of vocabulary or pronunciation. (Sherry)

I like our teacher very much. (Channy)She always give us confidence. I like the interaction that we have between classmates. (Leslie). I like this class because we do Listening/Speaking and computer exercises. It teachers me more. (Sherry)

Thank you for your blog. It's a good blog. We remember you. Thanks for your help. Don't be lonely. Have a nice Thanksgiving and much good luck. Don't worry, you are not alone.

Everyone in the 5:15 class !

Rick Kappra said...

Thank you everybody! I loved reading your comments. I don't know about King Kong's brain, but that comment made me laugh! I wish Diane was my teacher because I know I would be comfortable in her class!!! Happy Thanksgiving. I won't be eating any turkey here.

Mocha Fiesta said...

Hola Rick
I am a teacher from New Zealand and I am on a language immersion award here in Buenos Aires. I was looking from tango classes in Recoleta and your blog came up - not sure why, but I am so glad it did. It has been very interesting to read your experiences with language learning and certainly lifted my spirit which currently is at a bit of a low - my language learning is not going as well as I thought it would - they speak so quickly here, I have trouble undertanding, but when I think I cam here with no/extrremely little spanish I know I have improved. Thanks, have a happy xmas.