(This entry comes from a student’s journal — Jalisa — written during her fourth week in Jinotepe, Carazo, Nicaragua, and posted with her permission.)
The time of day I enjoy the most is the 9 – 12 morning Spanish class. Our professor, René, is very kind and encouraging, but also has a mischievous side. We usually begin the day by talking about our adventures last night. We stumble through poorly constructed sentences, but he never shows annoyance or frustrations at our lack of talent / skill / knowledge. Instead he writes the correct form of what we were trying to say on the board, asks us to read it out loud and then exclaims “¡Perfecto!” — like we had done the work all ourselves and he was so proud of us, ha. Well it makes me feel good. Struggling to speak understandable Spanish all day is exhausting, but having a Spanish teacher who speaks slowly, clearly, and doesn’t lose patience or ever (it seems) get frustrated with our lack of knowledge is refreshing. Talking with my family or restaurant people and having them repeat something over and over again almost makes me want to give up learning Spanish, but René makes it seem somewhat possible to learn, ha.
Now, he isn’t always only encouraging and a nice professor. Many times he likes to play games with us, try out his magic tricks, and make us move around the room. One morning he had us all stand up and choose a fruit, then we completed the sentence “Every morning I wake up and wash my (fruit).” No one knew what was going on, but we did it anyway. After we went around the circle, René just started cracking up. He said that every fruit in Spanish has a double meaning for a body part, and this sentence was a well known joke of some sort. It was extremely funny when we remembered each of our individual fruits: melon, banana (Kristin was a tad embarrassed), orange, guava, etc.. Ha, that was a good day. René always keeps us entertained somehow in Spanish class.