I think I learned my first Spanish from Debby Boone. Not personally mind you, but that would have been cool, but from a record of hers. I was given the album “You Light Up My Life” for Valentine’s Day from my mother one year and I played it into the ground. I still remember most of the songs on that album – mostly covers – but that didn’t bother me back then. I just liked her sweet, clear voice and had no idea who her dad was or that I was enjoying Muzack. One of the songs on that album was ABBA’s “Hasta Mana”. I still remember every word. I am pretty sure that was the first Spanish I learned.
And the last really. Now that I am here in Mexico I am realizing a few things. Things like – Mexican people are not eager to learn English, not like the Czech people. No one speaks English here, and if they do they do so reluctantly. Even at my school there are not a lot of people, even in the administration offices, that speak English. I was kind of shocked that a school that promoted a bi-lingual education had no English speaking staff to speak of.
What I have come to learn in my few weeks here in Guaymas (pronounced WHY-mus) is that I am teaching to very well off children, entitled children. These are children of some of the richest, most powerful people in the community. And yeah, I have a problem with that. I guess I am a reverse elitist. I really have it in for rich folks and how they spend their money. My school is a great example.
The school is in Miramar, a very nice part of the community. The parents pay for the tuition, the books, and the supplies and even for tickets to see the Christmas pageant. If it is at the school these parents have paid for it. The problem? They expect that their kids will be perfect. That’s what they have paid for. It doesn’t matter that little Juan Pablo never turned in homework. They paid, and their kids can do no wrong. I guess it’s also the fact that the English classes don’t really count. The grades from the English classes are complied with the other grades, so it doesn’t really matter what they get. It only matters what they get in their Spanish classes. Hasta Mana indeed.
Would Debby Boone would approve of is the mandatory Religion and ethics classes? It is part of the curriculum, I know! They have tests on Jesus and workbooks and stuff. Who knew? As if going to church wasn’t enough. Also, all girls are required to have their hair “restrained”. Unruly hair will not be tolerated! I know. What the hell (sorry Debby, heck) am I doing here with my tattoos (which I already had to cover at work) and my punk rock attitude? Honestly? I don’t know.
So, I guess I will just hang out here with thirty 4 year olds and see what happens. I mean if Debby Boone can score a number one song and become synonymous with the words “Adult Contemporary”, then I can teach 30 spoiled, albeit cute little Mexican kids about shapes, the number 6, and dinosaurs. I may not be Debby Boone, but I will light up your life. With a flame thrower if I have too.