Old Lady Weckerly Spins In Her Grave: I Teach English


Old lady Weckerly, my blind english teacher in high school, is spinning in her grave right about now.

I”m helping a young lady practice her english so she can teach in a bi-lingual kindergarten.

Yes, there is teaching involved. As in… she points to a picture in the workbook and says “canoa” and I say “gutter.”

We’re probably at the same level with our second languages. Shown a picture and seeing the word, we can come up with our second-language translation. But point to the picture and ask us to come up with the word unaided, we get stumped.

Hmmm, wonder how you say “I’m stumped” in Spanish.

And did you ever try to explain “porch” or “balcony” or “shutters” or “storm door” in a country where these are unknown?¬†Probably the same could be said trying to explain to somebody living in a 4 floor walk up in Queens I guess.

I do like the fact that the Spanish speakers have some many words for life stages, each with a masculine or feminine version. And I’m gonna put my take on the age range, somebody correct me if I’m way off…

  • bebe – unisex
  • nino (a) – children from toddler to 5 years old
  • muchacho (a) – ages 5 – 10
  • chico (a) – ages 10-16
  • senorita – only female ages 16-30 (always error on the side of caution)
  • senor (a) – 30-100
  • don (a) – 50+ a term of respect.

In the U.S. it seems to go:

  • baby
  • kid
  • punk
  • smart-ass
  • boring
  • dead

Now spin Weckerly spin as I teach Francini to say in less-than-perfect English

  • “you want fries with that?” or
  • “the tribe has spoken” or
  • “Jane, you ignorant slut” or
  • “kiss my grits.”
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