My Spanish has DEFINITELY improved over the past several months of living in Costa Rica, but it is no where near perfect. I can get by with most things: Emergency situations, cab directions and ordering food (this was my first priority, obviously).
When it comes to understanding my students though, that is a totally different story. Kids speak fast and have soft little voices, and let’s face it, they get a kick out of it when “teacher no entiende nada, jajajaja”
To take the easy way out (and discourage ridicule from 3rd graders) I find myself all too often just smiling and nodding at whatever my students have to say. This usually makes them happy and keeps them quiet, but lord only knows what I am silently agreeing to.
“Teacher, teacher, can I go smoke crack in the bathroom?!”
Mmmhmmm *Smile*. Be quick!
I have to go back to my roots and start enforcing more English in the classroom, outside of the structured lesson plan. I tried starting out as an English Only classroom, much much easier said (in English) than done (in English).