Learning Spanish - Part One

It's September, 1972, and I've just arrived in El Puerto de Santa Maria to teach in a bilingual school.

In the mornings I teach English to four year old Spanish children. In the afternoons I teach elementary subjects to children aged 5 to 9 who are native speakers of English.

Here's the problem. I don't know any Spanish. I have heard of the expression, 'Adios amigo', but that's it for my knowledge of Spanish.  Even my students who are native speakers of English know more Spanish than me. Everyone knows more Spanish than me. And my four year old pupils speak up in indignation each time I mispronounce their names. I, in my ignorance, at times think they're the ones making mistakes. "Federico? Shouldn't it be Frederico?" I actually think his name is misspelled on the roster.

"Senorita, mi nombre es FEDERICO!" He has his hands on his hips as he tells me off.

Time to do something about this appalling lack of knowledge on my part. It's time to learn Spanish.

I learned French in school, so that should help, shouldn't it? At least I'm familiar with conjugating verbs.

Someone, through the grapevine, as the saying goes, recommends this guy who tutors daft folk like me. He'll be my private tutor. How posh is that?! TO  BE  CONTINUED





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