In less than 24 hours from now, I’m about to head back to my Spanish-language class after taking some time off following a very hurtful moment that occurred there where at one point, it had made me question why I continue to take up Spanish for the past three years.
Flashback to October 19, 2019, I was in class doing a group activity with my fellow students. Now the activity was to create a whole sentence based on an idea drawn from connecting partial phrase with an image, and we have to conjugate using the Spanish present subjunctive tense.
Because I needed to make sure that my tenses are correct, I took out my Spanish-English dictionary from my bag to refer to the list of tenses featured there and make sure that I’m not making any mistakes. My teacher suddenly came over, then asked me to hand over my dictionary and suddenly gave me a sermon that I half-understood. They basically told me to not be so dependent on such study guides and yet they expected me to know all the tenses taught to me so far by heart.
Now, conjugation is a key element in Spanish, and is one of the major hurdles for learners like me. It’s because Spanish verbs have different conjugated forms to suit a particular situation, and are not just limited to simple past, present, and future tenses.
As I’m at this point an intermediate student, I have somewhat gotten a good hold on the most basic of tenses and their forms, apart from irregular verbs. On the verbal front, I usually blank out because I have to think at the top of my head on what tense I should use when speaking. As a last resort, I refer to my study notes and dictionary to double check myself.
Total immersion is not feasible for me at the moment unless I move to a Spanish-speaking country but I try to practice whenever I can at home.
I felt quite insulted as a student because I expected this teacher to be more understanding towards their pupils who are trying to elarn at their own pace. It’s hard to really describe this without making it seems that I was unwilling to learn because I am willing. Let’s just say this wasn’t the first time.
One thing I noticed is that they would give me a look on their face that screams “You should know this!”, with matching tilted head. Rather than feeling supportive, I felt discouraged because of this kind of approach given to me by my teacher.
I never had that feeling with my past teachers, and they were a lot stricter than the one I have at the moment, but were more accommodating with the needs of their students in order to feel encouraged to speak.
In past terms, I actually try my best to speak with confidence and try to express my ideas in the best neutral way that I can using Spanish. In fact, one of my former teachers, Inoé, told me that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. And I’ve always go by that principle whenever I film myself on video speaking the language, writing scripts in a language I myself could only comprehend for those videos and communicating with Spanish speakers at online message boards and comment sections.
Right now, I can no longer trust this particular teacher, and I’m only counting the weeks left before the current term is over. For the most part, I feel like I don’t want to engage with her, or ask her any study-related question, but I would have to if needed be to be able to move to the next nivel.
It’s gonna be an awkward dilemma for sure, but I’ll fight through this and hopefully knock this teacher down a peg if I ever still reserve the last word (i.e. evaluation form).