Back to school


And that, my friends, is the extent of my Spanish. Hopefully I will learn more as the weeks fly by here. I would like to think I will pick up at least a smidgen, however, looking at the course work so far and the difficluty of the assignments we have to complete, I fear I may leave Seville as ignorant of Spanish as I when I arrived.

They did warn us the course was strenuous, but I had convinced myself it couldn’t be that tough. I think I managed to do this based on some foolish notion that, after having spent the last 6 years working like a Trojan for Greenpeace, I was more or less ready for any eventuality.

I mean, no-one has ever been arrested for being a bad teacher now, have they? Whereas us enviro-agitators, hell, we get banged in jail all the time.

This was going to be a cinch compared to that!


So far the course has been intense. But hey! it has also been a lot of fun. They make you get stuck in immediately which is probably for the best.

And so it was that on day 2 I found myself standing in front of the class preparing to teach a group of advanced learners for 25 minutes!

25 minutes! My God! That’s a hell of a long time……and in the first part of the lesson I have to:

“Elicit the word stereotype ……”

Gee! Piece of cake. I mean stereotype, it just trips off the tongue of every language student, doesn’t it?

So, I got down to it.

I explained that I was from Scotland and that this fact probably made some of them think of a few images of a Scottish person. Tartan, kilts, whiskey, bagpipes.

I pointed to Claudine and said “Claudine, you’ re from France, yes? So when we think of French people we may imagine a man with a moustache, wearing a beret and carrying onions, yes? ”

She shrugged (she is French after all) then corrected me: ” He’ d be drinking a glass of wine if he was French……”

Right. So forget the onions then.

Then I got to Pedro.

” Pedro, if you think of someone from Mexico, what kind of pictures come into your head? Could you describe a Mexican to me? ”

Pedro looks at me a look of disdain on his face.

” No. I will not do this. I do not believe in stereotypes!”

Stunned silence from me.

I mean, he said the word. I elicited the word, in 3 minutes flat. Never expected that…..

All the students are delightfully opinionated actually, which is great. If Greenpeace prepared me for anything, it’ s how to deal with stubborn opinions.

In any case, the first lesson is now over and Iร‚ยดm sure we all learned something …..I mean, I was SURE all French people carried onions with them.

How about that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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