How time flies when it seems like yesterday Cynthia and I first joined the Spanish lesson. I may only get a fraction of what she got from our teacher Anna, I do learn a lot from Anna’s unorthodox way of teaching – letting the learners subtly define our learning objectives, allowing us to grow beyond the syllabus, and making each lesson fun. Learning should be fun and it shouldn’t be restrictive.
Take today as an example. Two guys from our class will be visiting Mexico for three months as exchange students for real. So Anna started the lesson (our last in this course) with the scenario of these two arriving at the airport making friends with the locals. So they meet this girl and …
At that moment, we were all tongue-tied. Quickly we rewound to lesson one and asked me llamo XYZ, y tu (my name is so-and-so, and you)? Next of course is where are you from, de dónde eres? And then?
We all went blank.
Imagine, two guys and a Mexican lady, how about a beer? ¿Quieres una cerveza? How about asking her if she’d like to eat something? ¿Quieres comer algo? How to ask if you like me? ¿Te gusta? And if she does? Me gustas mucho.
I love you is te quiero.
What else will our two friends need to know? At the airport? Where are the taxis, I suppose. ¿Dónte están los taxis? And the taxi driver would probably ask dónde van ustedes (where are you guys going)? Hotel Hilton, we are going. Vamos al hotel Hilton. At the hotel, we may wish to ask where a decent restaurant is. ¿Dónde hay un buen restaurante? What time does it open? ¿A qué hora abre el restaurante?
It is no fun with these two dudes dining on their own, is it? We can always count on the friendly (and beautiful) Mexican ladies. Would you like to dine with us? ¿Quieres cenar con nosotros? If the response is si, claro. That is a yes of course. Quizás is a maybe.
Over the dinning table, the girl may ask cuanto tienpo en mexico (how long are you staying in Mexico)? And there and then in the class, we learned how to say the years (años), months (meses), weeks (semanas), and days (diás).
One of us asked how to ask the girl for a dance. Anna told us that in Mexico, you have to ask the permission from her brother as seldom girls come out alone for dates. Erm, OK. ¿Puedo bailar con tu hermana?
May I kiss you?! ¿Puedo besar la?
OK. Maybe something should be left unsaid. The dinner is lovely and when the bill comes, why let the girl pays? Yo invito. Literally means “I invite (hence I pay)”. And when will we see each other again? ¿A qué hora (nosotros) nos encontramos? Or if the night is still young, why not catch a movie? ¿Quieres ir al cine?
Our class went on and on creating fun scenarios, departing from our textbooks. Our teacher Anna really enjoys our sense of curiosity and in her words of encouragement, we have gone far ahead of what beginner 1 class offers. So here we are, 5 girls and 1 guy (me) heading to beginner 2 class next month. Oh God, wish me luck. These girls are smart, very smart.