The Classroom Commandments

Clase de espanol

Posted by Maya:

The way I see it, there are four basic classroom rules:

  1. Be at school on time
  2. Raise your hand if you want to speak
  3. Always ask the teacher before you leave the room to go to the bathroom
  4. Do your homework

The last time I was in a formal classroom was 10 months ago, but I am pretty sure that I remember those four rules from school. They are the four things that teachers tend to be the most fussy about. They have been enforced in nearly every class I’ve ever been in, from kindergarten to seventh grade. But apparently, these rules do NOT apply to adult education.

Maybe I should explain: We’ve spent the past month in Buenos Aires learning Spanish at a tiny, gorgeous school called Amauta. Since I was the only teenager enrolled at the time, I had the option of doing class with Eva and Rikki, or being in an adult class with my mother and four or five strangers. I chose to be in the adult class, and I have really enjoyed it. I went from knowing absolutely nothing in espanol to being able to communicate. Of course, I can only communicate with preschoolers, but it’s a start.  I’ve also really liked getting to know my fellow students at Amauta, my Spanish school.  We’ve met people from Australia, Alaska, Japan, Germany, Romania, Switzerland, Brazil, Sweden, Idaho…. The list goes on and on.  However, I was shocked to learn that nobody in my adult Spanish class remembered The Four Classroom Commandments.

I thought that it was ironic that I looked out of place raising my hand in a classroom. True, it’s one thing to have a discussion with six adults and another to have one with 27 thirteen-year-olds, but I just couldn’t avoid raising my hand! Also, for the first 3 weeks of class, I was bewildered by people who would get up and leave the room without asking the teacher. By the fourth week, I was more comfortable, and I even did it once or twice myself, but it still felt wrong, like somehow I was betraying every teacher I’ve ever had. It took me awhile to get used to people walking in the door nearly an hour after class started. I just chalked that up to the relaxed Buenos Aires atmosphere.

I was able to adjust to the breaking of the first three Commandments easy enough, but the last one, Do Your Homework, proved more difficult. I was absolutely shocked by the amount of people in my class who winged it when the teacher had us read our assignments out loud. “What would your mother say?” I wanted to shout. That is, until my own mother pulled the same trick. I just couldn’t believe it! Didn’t my classmates, including my mom, want to be prepared?

While the lawless Spanish classes did have some appeal, I think I prefer classrooms with rules. Though it is nice to be able to go to the bathroom whenever I want.

Categories: Argentina | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “The Classroom Commandments

  1. nison and doreen

    Maya, your writing just gets better and better.
    Can just picture U in that Spanish classroom with all those adults,
    bet U were the fastest learner in the group.
    Grandpa and Monga

  2. nison and doreen

    I loved this post.
    It spoke to the adult education teaching I’ve grown so fond of. In my class, getting up quietly and leaving the room without interupting what is going on, when it is necessary, is a rule. Asking for permission to leave would actually be more disruptive than just leaving.
    Homework and being prepared for class seems to be a direct response to how important the students feel the material is to them. If a student already had his or her date for their interview, they never came unprepared. If they are taking the class early because they thoink they will need to repeat it before their interview, they are much more casual about doing their work.
    I’m sure you were your teachers’ favorite student.

  3. Sari Bari Grossman

    Me llama Sari Bari. Me gusta Mai.

  4. Shari Cohen-Kairey

    Maya: Enjoy the freedom but don’t forget the rules when you return. Sounds like yet, another amazing experience. Thanks for sharing and send my love to the entire family.

  5. mara the cupcake maker

    i wish that my classroom was like that

  6. Leo

    Muy bien Maya!!! And so funny too!

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