Wednesday, May 04, 2005

La Maestra

"La maestra! La maestra!" That's what M. always hollers when I show up at Su Casa. Since about my third appearance, the shout is followed by scampering and a hug.

M. is six years old, a little chunky and a bit of a clown. I started tutoring him in English on Saturdays maybe two months ago now. His friend O., who's a little taller and skinnier, usually tags along. I heard O's report card was terrible, and of the two of them his English is stronger. I worry about M. He has more trouble than O. does remembering things, even when we play that memory card game where you lay picture cards face down and take turns flipping over two of them to see whether they match. O. was much better at remembering which card was where than M. was (not to mention than I was, but hey, I'm an old lady.) M., like so many boys, is good at manipulating objects and has lots of energy to burn. I try to be very insistent with Su Casa that I really only want to play/work with the two of them at a time because I poop out easily. I was not built to be an elementary school teacher. God bless them!

To be honest, I have no idea what I'm doing, but since they both know so little English and are so young, I just hang out and play with them and speak to them relentlessly in the target language. If I have enough time and can run them ragged enough, I will read them a story. Su Casa needs more really simple Dr. Seuss-type books, like "Hop on Pop." I got a whole hour out of "The Foot Book" the first time I went over.

Last week I brought over one of those Leap Pad books--they're books you put in an electronic pad and it doesn't just read the story, it gives you games to play and sounds to make using an electric pen. These books are really cool. M's mom even came in and watched for a while that day. OK, I guess this is a product endorsement:

Last night was pure play, and two younger boys I will call Teeny and Teenier joined us. We went in the garden--they have a playground set and a live rooster flapping around. I think maybe I learned more Spanish than they did English--is "escondido" the same as "hide and seek?" Think so. Later we had a choo-choo train going with me pulling a wagon and two boys pedaling big wheel-style plastic bikes behind. I tried to show them the difference between pull and push but I'm not sure it took. I wiped a lot of snot (always carry tissues) and had to kiss Teeny's bumps at least twice, once on the chin and once on a finger.

Why don't Spanish lessons for grownups include hide-and-seek or freeze tag?

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