Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Card from My 8th Grade Spanish Teacher (1992)

I’ve written many times about the power of positive thinking and how it helped me beat cancer. One of the biggest reasons I was able to do this was the way people rallied around me in support. Even though I hadn’t seen my 8th grade Spanish teacher “C” in four years, he also reached out to me with these kind words. He also mentions the monks praying for me – I don’t know how many prayer lists I was on back then, but it was a lot and went beyond Massachusetts and the US. Whether you believe in God or not, I took all those prayers into positive thoughts and I know they helped me…

Spanish was one of my favorite classes in junior high, and “C” was a big reason for that. You could tell he was passionate about teaching the language, he made it fun, and he cared about the success of his students (even years after he had taught them).

I remember our weekly “Aquí” games in class. Aquí was Spanish Bingo – Señor C would draw an English word, and we would see if we had the Spanish equivalent on our cards. If you had a row, you yelled “Aquí”, and got a piece of candy. There were also quicker versions of Aquí like “Upper Left Corner”, where C would draw cards until someone had the same one in the upper left corner of their card. My friends and I quickly fixed the system and made sure the next time we played, just about everyone in class had the same upper left corner (you ever see 30 kids go up to a desk to get candy at the same time? We made it happen.).

In addition to many happy Aquí memories, I will never forget one day in C’s Spanish class. We were reading from the book, and the question we had to answer was “Qué es tu curso favorito?” (Or is it Cual?), which means “What is your favorite course?”. C told us a story about a former student who read it thinking it meant “What is your favorite curse?” The student read it and asked, “You want me to answer that?” C told him yes, not knowing that he was misinterpreting the word. “What DID HE SAY?”, we begged C to tell us. C just laughed, knowing he couldn’t swear in front of a bunch of 8th graders. “Come on!”, we begged. He finally gave in and just said, “Well, it rhymed with duck!” It still makes me laugh. Thank you for being a great teacher C, and for this card. You were definitely an influence on how I approached teaching students as a special educator.

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