I took three years of Spanish in high school, and four semesters in college, yet I retained almost nothing, something I now regret as I attempt to relearn the language. But why? ¿Por qué? Realistically, it’s likely because I never found reason to use it earlier in life, and that saying, “Use it or lose it,” truly applies when learning a foreign language. However, there may have been other contributing factors that should fit nicely in the retelling of Drew’s high school experience. After all, she is the fictional version of me (Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl series). Here are some samples:
1- The girl who sat behind me in Spanish the first year, the one who didn’t even know who the current president was during the elections of 1992, sucked it out of me by the vacuum of her empty head. That year I usually made hundreds on all my quizzes, so she attempted to copy my answers. Once I caught on, I would purposely write the wrong answers, give her plenty of opportunity to copy them down, and then change them quickly before turning in my own work. Maybe playing stupid for so long actually made a more long-term impact of irreversible damage than I was aware.
2-Spanish III could be a whole book on its own.
- Or teacher was an older woman who had taught elementary school for years and just switched to high school. She talked to us like children. High schoolers do not appreciate that sort of thing, so we began to call her by the wrong name. To this day I am not certain if she was Ms. Thompson or Johnson. Apparently, she had a much worse class than ours, and after having us answer inappropriate ads from the classifieds of some Spanish language newspapers, it is rumored she had a nervous breakdown and left with no warning after just under two months.
- We had a substitute for another two months (one who did not know Spanish).
- My friends and I played card games, such as “Ochos Locos” (Crazy Eights) and listened to Beck’s “Loser” for our Spanish practice during class.
- During our time with the substitute, we were expected to take a midterm exam. The sub felt sorry for us and left the room during the exam while we all looked up the answers and helped each other cheat.
- We suddenly had a retired military man as our teacher. He was not sympathetic to our plight.
Oh, high school. You ruined me…or did you just give me fun material for my writing ventures?