Every man or woman eventually pines for the days of the past, at least occationally, and either marvels or shudders at the speed at which thing happen, change, and disappear. Unfortunately, most of these observations of culture are drowned in sentimentality and eventual contempt for “the crazy things kids do nowadays.” But our collective memory… Read More What is this?
Languages take loan words and phrases for many reasons. Some languages, like English, sneak in the middle of the night and steal words, and bring them into a creepy woodshed in the backyard, and in a shakedown proceed to change their pronunciation to fit the toolbox of a long vowel-rich, dipthong-ridden tongue. And then, as… Read More Language Files Part 1: Spanish and Bullfighting
Television and radio presenter Art Linkletter was an orphan who was moved from Canada as a child to live in San Diego, California. He was married for 74 1/2 years. He was a major investor in the patented hula-hoop, without whom it may never have existed. During the Great Depression, he hitched on trains around the… Read More The Cuckoo’s Nest: My Days in a Spanish Elementary School: Part 6
As we approach the end of the year, and the beginning of a much-appreciated vacation, I thought I’d dip into sentimentality and take a little look back at a post made in my first days as a teaching assistant. Some things have changed, others haven’t. Over a year ago, on my first day on the… Read More The Cuckoo’s Nest: My Days in a Spanish Elementary School: Part 2 (re-post)
In October 2010, I began a “teaching” assistant job in a bilingual elementary school in the center of Madrid. On my first day, with the uneasy feeling of sliding into a house party full of unfamiliar people, I walked into the classroom to mingle with the twitchy, distracted children. As it turns out, the first… Read More The Cuckoo’s Nest: My Days in a Spanish Elementary School, Part 5. For English Language Teachers:
Over a year ago, on my first day on the job as a teaching assistant, a pseudo-scholarly Sancho Panza, I struggled to adjust to a bustling school environment, and one interaction with a second-grade student set the tone for the months to come. “Hello, what’s your name, little man?” I asked. He pointed at my… Read More The Cuckoo’s Nest: My Days in a Spanish Elementary School: Part 2
Often, to work as an assistant to anything is to work under the assumption of indefinite mediocrity. Interns, trainees, newbies in general, all muddle through their jobs with the hope that someday there will be promotion, advancement or at least a more decorated CV. The young helper cannot afford to expend all that untapped intellect and potential (reminders of… Read More The Cukoo’s Nest: My Days in a Spanish Elementary School: Part 1