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Embracing the suck

For the past four weeks, every Monday at 10 am, I’ve started a new level of Spanish classes here in Mexico City. Monday has typically been, for me, the hardest lesson of the week as my brain struggles to adjust.

This Monday was the first week of lessons at the intermediate level, which was an even bigger jump than previous weeks. There were eight students in my class. Instead of starting the day with a grammar lesson, we dug right into a reading comprehension and discussion exercise. I seemed out of place, but I continued to embrace the suck as I had in previous weeks, at least somewhat confident my brain would eventually adjust.

Then Tuesday morning came.

Apparently the school decided they had put too many people in the first week of intermediate lessons and moved half the class into what would normally be the second week of intermediate lessons. Let’s call those four students the smart half.

I was in the dumb half.

As a result, Tuesday was relatively relaxed compared to Monday. We dove right in with a grammar lesson, focusing on a verb tense the smart half of the class was already using confidently. I didn’t mind so much being in the dumb half, since it was, in my opinion, the correct level for me.

Then Wednesday came. One of the students in my class stopped showing up. I considered this a blessing, as she’d been a near-constant distraction since she’d arrived a couple weeks earlier. However, during the conversation lesson, the workload that had been divided across eight students, then four, was now down to three. So I went from being the center of attention for maybe a little over ten minutes per class to more like a half-hour. As usual, I adjusted.

Then today happened. One more student, who was going to be finishing at the end of the week anyway, decided he needed more time to prepare for an upcoming trip and dropped the class. That left two. Then the other student had some sort of conflict that was going to keep her from the afternoon conversation lesson.

As a result, this afternoon, although I’d paid for a group class, I ended up having a private lesson for about 90 minutes. I was entirely unprepared for that level of attention.

The instructor, to her credit, abandoned the usual classroom approach and started with a game to play. We rolled a pair of dice that gave me a random question to answer from a field of 36, all of which were designed to keep me talking using past tenses — specifically pretérito and copretérito, for the language nerds among you. Then we did a vocabulary lesson and a bit of additional grammar. I adjusted again, and it went by quicker than I thought.

Which is good, because I think I’m in for the same tomorrow.