Thursday, November 26, 2009

French I

Journal for Christa—
Taking French I with the ninth graders has been interesting…if not for them, at least for me. I think now that we’re three quarters of the way through the semester, they’ve decided that I really am going to stay. I think I decided that the day I covered my book. Research shows that the younger brain learns easier and faster than the—more elderly brain. I’m sure they’ve had their moments of thinking, “She’s so dumb; I can’t believe they let her teach here.” It makes me think of a time when I took a sign language class my senior year in high school.
The class was taught, I think, at the deaf and blind school. There was a lady in our church who had a passion to learn sign language so she could interpret the church services. I took it with her—just because, I guess. I had no passion. The class was designed for parents with deaf children who were learning sign language in school so they could converse with their children. Everyone there, to me, seemed old.
Sign language was easy. I didn’t study much, but was catching on faster than the others. I kind of wondered why it was hard for them. In my 17-year-old mind, I didn’t think much about parents working, keeping a house, and taking care of children. I was oblivious to the world. Our sign language class convinced the church lady that I was rather smart. Then I went off to college.
While in college, I forgot every sign I’d ever learned, save the alphabet. (I might actually even pull that off today.) Once on a visit home, I watched the lady (whose name I can’t remember) sign for the deaf at church. I was pretty impressed, especially considering learning it had been rather difficult for her. The thing I didn’t take into account was her passion.
Every once in a while, I surprise the ninth graders, but mostly they feel sorry for me. I don’t hear or speak French very well. But, what we see on the outside isn’t always the whole story. I understand every word I read, silently. I also study my French every night. I review right before I go to bed because I know that the brain puts information into long term memory faster if you review right before you go to sleep, and I need every edge I can get. I’ll also bring home a book this summer to review. I guess I have passion.
If we want to know what we love, it’s the things we spend time on. When we spend lots of time on the things we don’t love, it just makes us grumpy or burn out. Take a break and spend some time on your passion.
By wit and determination, I plan to close the gap between me and the nine graders this year. And, I hope when they look around on the first day of French II next year, they'll say, “Where’s Mimi?”

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