Posted by Maya:
The way I see it, there are four basic classroom rules:
- Be at school on time
- Raise your hand if you want to speak
- Always ask the teacher before you leave the room to go to the bathroom
- 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.