Sunday, November 6, 2011


Submitted by Joanne Connolly

A few weeks ago, my professor walked into the classroom and began to speak to us. In fluent Chinese. Had this been her Chinese class, I’m sure we all would have expected it, but this was education class. So why was she speaking Chinese? She was doing it on purpose, and making wild hand gestures in hopes that we’d understand her. She was calling out our names, pointing to us, using different inflections...but she was still speaking in Chinese. What was happening? Was she going to do this for the whole hour and fifty minutes?! My class was panicking. I was just sitting back and smiling.

I had just gotten back from Spain, a country where I spoke almost none of the language...and of course in Barcelona, NONE of us spoke their language. But we managed to get by. Through pictures and pointing and gestures and broken Spanglish, we got by.

My professor then left the room and brought back “The English customs agent,” which was just her speaking English. She said she was teaching us that different students may come from different cultures and know different languages, and how hard it is for them to move to America from another country where the teachers are spouting English, expecting them to know it. But they manage to get by. Sometimes it’s like climbing a mountain to get there, but once you start climbing, you don’t want to stop until the top.

The view from Montserrat.