Here are some anecdotes and stories about life so far as an English teaching assistant.
**Unless otherwise noted, all conversations between me and the children are them speaking Spanish, me speaking English while gesturing wildly.**
Me: What is your name?
Adorable Child: “ahb-rom”
Me: What’s it?
Adorable Child: “ahb-ROM”
Me: Can you write it? How do you spell it? I need to see it.
Adorable Child: *writing* “Abraham”
Me: Ohhhhhhhhhhhh hahahaa
In 2nd grade yesterday the teacher had me play a game with the kids using these flashcards. They were cartoon drawings of a kid rollerblading, a kid climbing a tree, a cat jumping, a dog running, a girl dancing, a boy riding a bike, a boy with a red face sweating, and a girl with curly wind breezes blowing around her shivering. I would pick a card, and the kids would have to raise their hands and ask me, “Can you ride a bike?” If I didn’t have the bike card, I would say, “No I can’t,” and then would call on another kid who would ask me, “Can you dance?” and if I had the dancing card I would say, “Yes, I can dance!” and then that kid got to come up and I would give him/her a card and the classmates would ask him/her the questions. At first we were only playing with the activity cards. Then I threw in the “hot” and “cold”cards. The result, my comments in italics:
Child: Can you ride a bye? (bike, duh)
Child up front: No, I can’t.
Child: Can you hot?
Me: No, it’s “are you hot”
Chid up front: No, I can’t.
Me: No No, it’s “No, I’m not.”
*both children staring blankly*
Me: *shaking my head*
Later in the same class, I was dying of heat! I was hot the entire class, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that the teacher was sitting at his desk looking at some papers while I ran the entire class. After the flashcard game we had to do this stupid worksheet involving putting stickers and labels in the correct locations. I had to go around and individually check every kid’s page because the pester you until you do, “seño, teacher! teacher! señorita!” “Ok hang on! Ok no, this is roller blading, that says ride a bike. You need to move it to this spot.” *Blank stare*
Anyway, at the end of this class I was sweating profusely. 2nd graders being what they are clearly had to call me out on this fact. “Estas sudandoooo” “Yeah, I know, I’m sweating. It’s really hot in here. Remember, we just learned this. I am hot! I ammm hooottt. Hot. Tengo calor. *wipes brow*” “ooh que guay! (while touching my fingernails with sparkly polish).”
In first grade last week, I was helping teach the kids names for different school supplies. The teacher pointed out the bulletin board where there were some vocab words with pictures posted up, and I was supposed to ask the kids to show me different school supplies. For example:
Me: Who has a pencil case? Pen-cilll caseee *motioning with hands*
Children: *Holding up pencil cases*
Me: Good! Who has a pencil? Pennncilll
Children *whispering to each other* un lapiz? es un lapiz?
Me: Yes, a pencil! Good! *I look at the pictures on the board to decide what to ask for next* Who has a rubber? A rubbbbberrrr.
Children: *holding up erasers*
Me: Yes! That’s a rubber! In America we call it an eraser.
Children: *blank stares*
Me: Good! a rubber! (we are in the UK now.)
More to come.