I like to think I am preparing my students for more than ordering “una más cerveza, por favor!”*
*this is not how it is actually said in proper Spanish, but how it is said by drunkish gringos who think they speak “un poquito de espanyol”
I like to think I am preparing my students for real adult life. . . by giving them glimpses, however unpleasant, into their most certain futures.
For example, a few weeks ago we were studying indirect objects and their pronouns. (If you haven’t studied a language recently, you will have no idea what those are, but no matter…)
One of the exercises we did was a hypothetical argument with a boyfriend/girlfriend who had recently complained that we were not attentive enough. The exercise required that we give ample evidence of all of the things we do for the dis-satisfied boyfriend/girlfriend.
I gave examples like these:
I recite poetry for you under the moon
I bring you breakfast in bed.
Rest assured I had lots of examples—they were just rolling off my tongue for some reason.
I told them I had just helped them win at least half of the fights they will have as a married couple.
When they ask me how my weekend was, I tell them what weekends are like when you are married with kids. Hey, it is not exactly rip-roarin’ fun, but my weekends will soon be their weekends. They should be prepared.
These are pearls of wisdom it has taken me years to collect. While I don’t want to ruin ALL of the surprises adult life will bring, last week I informed them of several new games we have been playing at my house:
1) The sick baby shuffle: baby is sick… again… mom and dad take turns staying home from work for days on end, with all the stress, both financial and psychological, that brings. This includes at least several trips to the doctor and at least one to the pharmacy at an odd hour.
2) Tag-you’re sick: this is where each member of the family takes turns getting sick, hosting the virus mutation, and then passing it on. This endlessly prolongs the sick-baby-shuffle and causes the consumption of Kleenex, children’s motrin, and Nyquil to increase exponentially. I did not inform them exactly how much snot, crying and occasionally diarrhea must be dealt with—I don’t want to ruin all of the new-parent-discoveries.
The latest information that I passed on was that, flying in the face of all that they will learn in biology and feminist theory, the biggest difference between men and women, one that will only become glaringly obvious when they are married with kids, is how differently men and women cope with the common cold.
(I should also add, in all fairness, that the biggest surprise may just be that they feel pretty fortunate and generally concede that life is pretty darn SWEET!)