ESL classes resumed this week and I'm teaching a couple of classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. My night class has got me a bit concerned. All 20 of my students are Spanish speakers and it is the very lowest level, i.e. they can answer the question, "What is your name" and "How are you?", but that's about it.
I'm doing a little experiment this semester and not letting any of my students know that I speak Spanish. It has been my unfortunate experience that once they know I know Spanish, the vast majority of their questions are asked in Spanish and they want Spanish explanations, etc. I'm using the word Spanish a lot. Anyway.
It's been really difficult to pretend that I don't understand the conversations swirling around me and watching them struggle to put together simple questions when I KNOW what they want to ask, but I want them to at least try to do it in English.
There's a couple of other issues to deal with in the class. I've been assigned a Grad Student who is doing her practicum to get her MA in TESOL. She has to teach practically half my class. Yeah! Kinda. She's from France, has parents from Tanzania and English is her 3rd language. I'm not doubting her abilities, I'm worried about the accent. I guess that's a bit hypocritical since I've done my fair share teaching Spanish to gringos. We shall see.
Third issue: I've got 20ish students and there are 7 Marias. I'm not even joking, and none of them want to be called by any other name. I guess I'm going to have to call them by their first and last names or just use a lot of pro active eye contact. The class thinks it's hilarious.
Ben texted me the other night during class and I told him I was busy dealing with 7 Marias. He made me laugh out loud as he responded, "How do you solve a problem like 7 Marias?" I'll let you know the answer as soon as I figure it out.