About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Teacher as Student

Today I started Spanish lessons. I studied it for four years in the past, 2 years in high school and 2 years at university. But that was a long, long time ago.

Most of you know that I'm a semi-retired teacher who specializes in teaching French as a second language and that I currently tutor students who are having difficulty learning the language. Two of my students (both boys in Grade 8) decided that French was too hard so they have both signed up to study Spanish starting in September. Both of them said they'd heard that Spanish is so much easier. However, I tried to warn them that Spanish is only easier once you already know another Romance language and that they're going to have to do the same sorts of things in Spanish as they've been doing in French. But they told me they'd already signed up and it was a done deal.

Then I had a brainwave! I don't know of anyone in the area who tutors Spanish - so, I've decided to refresh my Spanish and be available as a Spanish tutor, too.

I made a deal with a Spanish teacher in the city because she wants to improve her French. So for two hours every Friday morning this summer we're going to get together for one hour of Spanish and one hour of French.
I was nervous today. But so was she.
We stumbled along, both of us laughing at our mistakes, helping each other out with vocabulary, verb conjugations, and pronunciation. We traded some materials that we can study from over the coming weeks and when we get together, we'll *try* to communicate in both languages.

Today, I told her (in Spanish and with her help) how I have come to be engaged to a man I met 40 years ago and she was agog, amazed, and delighted for us. She told me (in French with my help) about going to Mexico for a few months and meeting a wonderful man who makes films and just premiered his first short documentary.
It's nerve-wracking to be on the other side of the desk, so to speak, even though we sat together at a large square table. There were times when she was speaking that I realized my mind had gone blank and I had to ask her to repeat. But when the tables were turned and I was in charge, she was just as stressed as I had been.

When I left, I headed to "Collins Educational Supplies Store," an educational resource store where I've picked up lots of materials for teaching in the past. I managed to find several books and a Spanish/English dictionary that I'm sure I'll find extremely useful in the weeks and months to come.
Life just keeps on getting better and better, I think. Since retiring from full time teaching, I've travelled quite a bit and fallen in love and am engaged to marry a wonderful man. My little tutoring business is only going to expand now due to two young boys who thought French was too hard.
Next trip, Spain? or Mexico?


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Sounds like you've struck a good deal there, Leslie. What a brainwave you had to suggest the "skills swap" and be available as a Spanish tutor yourself. I agree with you about lang learning: people think Spanish is easier then French because it's written more phonetically but all langs are difficult in different ways, for instance, Spanish uses the subjunctive more.
Great post and may your life continue to get better - you deserve this happiness. xx

Leslie: said...

Thx Pat. If only kids would "listen" to their teachers' advice, but heck, this does me a good turn, too. ;)

Country Girl said...

I have been remiss in my visits to your site, Leslie and I missed the fact that you are now engaged. I am so happy for you!!
I had four years of French in high school and I loved the lessons (most of the time). I applaud you for learning Spanish. I think it's a great trade!!

Bcwillow said...

Well done Leslie! I wish I could find Dutch books like that at the teacher stores. I hope it goes well for you!

Katney said...

The other thing to impress upon your students is that it is important to keep it up. I also studied Spanish in high school--two years after two years of Latin. In college I studied two years of Italian--one of them while in a university abroad program. While in Italy for a year I became fairly proficient.

Over the years I have had no one to speak Italian with, and it is gone.

EXCEPT, having the need to boost my Spanish and be able to communicate with Spanish speaking folks around here, I have been working at it. Believe me, I remember more Italian than I thought. Whenever I try to speak Spanish, every Italian word I ever knew comes back to me--especially those which are not the same in Spanish.

Maggie May said...

The world is your oyster!
Great idea getting another language under your belt.
Wish you EVERY success.

Mickle in NZ said...

More lovely things happening for you - I'm smiling for you and your well deserved happiness.

Such a great idea to team up with the Spanish Teacher. Have fun!!

Shrinky said...

My goodness Leslie, you just keep on working harder and reaching further for your goals - yes, life is good - know why? Because you are one of those people who doesn't sit back to wait for things to happen.

You are an inspiration! Hope your business continues to grow and prosper, just as you have.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

This is just amazing....I cannot speak either language, just enough French to get me from A to B, order a few things, ask time of closing etc etc. My Italian is the same..I think I know more French though..I really try and learn a few things before I go to any country....

I hadn't been to France since 2002 until this year, but you know what , I was communicating, ok not fluently, but never got stuck. My only problem is when they answer me back and then I think ...what did they say!!

I do have a new Spanish speaking friend, who I help with English...not as a teacher but when we are chatting she gets stuck and asks "Cómo se dice" now I know what she means :-)

I need you and Pat to live near me....!!

Jo said...

Leslie, I think that is wonderful...! Good for you.

I have always wanted to learn Russian. You have inspired me to do just that. :-)

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