I have been teaching languages for the last sixteen years, and I have seen and heard many weird comments during that time. I have noticed that many people simply don’t appreciate the work I do. To be honest, it makes me sad and a bit angry.
I have heard things like, “Speak English!” or “Why can’t everyone learn English?” too many times to count. Think about it from my perspective if you can. I am a professional paid to speak my second language—in this case Spanish. I am paid to teach people as much as I can in the time allotted to me. I have been trained extensively in the various methods to do just that, literally spending years staying current with research in my field.
When my students encounter me, I need to create the expectation of using the second language. What that means is when I see students in town or anywhere else outside of my classroom, I like to speak to them in Spanish. It activates what they already know and expands their minds to be able to learn even more. They gain confidence when they are successful.
Sit back, be quiet and let me do what I’m trained to do. It’s not my fault there is no official language for the United States. It’s not my fault that students are required to take at least one year of Spanish to graduate. It’s not my fault that it is harder for some students than others. If you think about it, that could easily apply to math or science, etc.
What any teacher does is build background knowledge for life. Our job is to combat ignorance. A little support from the community would be nice. Tolerance for other cultures wouldn’t hurt either. You’re never too old to learn!
P. S. To the community members who are always supportive, thank you so much! You make the rough days easier.