Bienvenidos . . .

When I was 9 years old, my parents signed me up for a before-school Spanish class with my 3 best friends. Almost 18 years later, I’ve built my interests, my career, and now my entire life on the Spanish language. Despite wanting to quit studying Spanish many times (my family can verify), and even though I swore I would never be a teacher (see previous aside), I’ve spent the past 3 years teaching Spanish to undergraduates at the community college and the university where I live.

It’s hard to explain what I find so rewarding about teaching a language. I think of language as a machine; if you pull one lever in the sentence, another cog somewhere else turns. If this word is masculine, this, this, and that one need to be too; if you hope that someone else does something, as soon as you’ve said or written the “que” then the subjunctive pops up. I feel like I’m showing my students the intricacies of a system that becomes more complex and exciting the further down you go and the more you discover. And the best part is, once you’ve built the machine and gotten it running, you can use it to do whatever you want. A synthesis of logical processing and creativity.

Once one of my students who was majoring in education asked if he could interview me about my opinions on teaching. He needed to compare the attitudes of a veteran teacher and a new teacher. In response to his questions I told him basically what I just outlined in the previous paragraph and when the interview was all done, he remarked, “That is not at all like what my other teacher said.” So maybe that explanation was way out in left field, but it is exactly how I feel when a student writes a sentence with perfect concordance.

When I graduated college in 2006, my Spanish professor gave me some information about teaching English in Spain. The program sounded amazing, but I had already accepted a spot at a graduate school, so I knew I couldn’t apply that year. 2 years later, I had a Master’s degree . . . and tons of student loan debt. 5 years after I first heard of the program, I paid off my loans and applied. I found out I was accepted around the middle of March and have been waiting ever since for my official letter from Andalucía that will tell me what city and school I’ll be working at.

I haven’t been idly waiting. I sent off my passport to be renewed and got a second (sigh) FBI background check (more on that in a later post). I filled out my visa forms. I started reading up on Southern Spain. And, I started this blog. I named it as an homage to Théophile Gautier, whose book A Romantic in Spain I suffered through in a Spanish 300 literature class. My first goal for the upcoming year is to not be as whiny in my travels.

Well, hasta la próxima I guess. Stay tuned . . .


2 Responses to Bienvenidos . . .

  1. Deanna Mihaly says:

    Great blog, Sarah. I’ll be following your adventures and looking forward to your postings. Very funny reference to Gautier’s book!

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