As mentioned a few times already on this blog, I was kind of an idiot in high school. But despite it all, there were still a few classes that caught my interest and that I genuinely enjoyed. One of those classes was Spanish.
Rewind back to 8th grade where we were first given an opportunity to take Spanish as an elective. Although I don’t remember the criteria to qualify for Spanish 1-2, (it was probably just to be “smart” or something silly like that) us regular folk could freely elect to take a semester of Introduction to Spanish. The beloved Senora Norberg did a great job of garnering our interest of Spanish in 8th grade (whether introductory class or not). Yes, it’s a pretty easy language to learn, but I still picked it up quick and enjoyed learning and studying new vocabulary. I thought it was such a fun subject, I actually contemplated being a Spanish translator when I grew up.
Moving on to high school, my joys of learning the subject carried over as I was taught by Señora Snider. Conjugating verbs, practicing conversations in class, the Spanish alphabet.. It all came naturally to me. This was probably the only subject where I could say I didn’t study but aced all the tests and quizzes. Learning Spanish was fun for me; the cooking projects and watching movies in Spanish were just icing on the cake. It was more of the same the following year with Señora Cobos.
And then junior year came around and I would be taught Spanish by Dr. Graciano (she prefered that we address her as ‘profe’). Up to this point, every Spanish teacher’s classroom I’ve been in or simply passed by was decorated from floor to ceiling. Posters, projects, pictures of food, pictures of the culture, anything and everything covered the walls of those classrooms.
I stepped into her classroom on the first day and there was.. nothing. I didn’t know the walls were white until that day. The whiteboards were spotless. She had a small desk and podium in the front of the classroom, clear of any knick knacks, figurines or clutter. The only thing that sat on the tables along the windows was a CD player boombox and this framed poster of Enrique Iglesias that leaned against the wall:
Needless to say, there was nothing fun about this classroom. I probably should have taken that as some sort of foreshadowing.
I want to say it was a culmination of the classroom, her teaching style and just her personality in general, as I didn’t do so well. In fact, I’d venture to say that she sucked the fun out of Spanish for me. More likely to be the reason would be trying to learn how to conjugate verbs in the tenses I didn’t even have a firm grasp of using in English yet (like future perfect continuous or future continuous tense). I could no longer do well on tests without studying and my grades took a hit. Although, my classmates actually did a pretty good job of convincing her to lighten up. We got to watch some movies and have a food party in class. By the end of the year, there was one row of projects taped to the wall.
But it wouldn’t be enough to reignite my joy in learning the language. To my credit, I still remember some of it; I was able to use it the few times I went on trips or cruises to Mexico. Later, I took one quarter of Spanish as a GE to get the easy A in college. Other than that though, it’s all just another thing I learned now.