Tuesday, September 14, 2010

it works both ways

I had a nice couple of classes today, where I tried teaching articles ("a" and "an") in a couple different ways: 1-B had already learned the jobs vocabulary ("lawyer," "carpenter," etc.) and I added the articles onto that, and then 1-C hadn't learned jobs yet, so I taught them articles on top of the new words. I learned two things:
  1. Learning articles, as such, doesn't take very long. I break the "no explaining things" rule because with 3 sentences of Spanish, they get it, and then it just takes practice.
  2. It's really challenging for them to learn both the articles and the new words. 1-C is really focused and good at school, and they had to work pretty hard to learn both at once in 45 minutes. 1-B is kind of disorderly and learns more slowly, but they had articles down in 30 minutes.
Hopefully I can design an effective one-hour lesson with that.

The other interesting thing was that I almost cracked my most obnoxious Javiera in the head.

(UPDATE: I just remembered 2 of the 3 Javieras in 1-G. 1-B's Javiera doesn't come close.)

Now, I'm a little twitchy sometimes about my personal safety. I had really violent childhood relationships with my brothers, and then I went to a violent junior high school, where my quality of life suffered from the delusion--common in my family's demographic--that fighting is never the solution to conflict. It's true that there's almost always a way not to fight, but that's a complex and mature set of skills, and if you take fighting off the table entirely for all time, what you get is being punched in the nose. Aikido has brought on a lot of changes, but I still have pretty deep-seated reactions.

I was passing out candy to 1-B for having an awesome class and for the two teams tying the game we played at the end, and Javiera made a full-body lunge for the bag. Even though I knew she was going for the candy, this set off my safety alarms, and I:
  1. Dropped my arms, pulled the bag away, and guarded my body.
  2. Threw an elbow towards her oncoming head, in a combination block and strike.
  3. Realized what was happening and stopped my elbow a couple inches from her head.
Obviously a good thing for everyone that I didn't clock her. What's really striking for me is that the same training that gave me the "elbow to the head" response also gave me the awareness to notice it wasn't appropriate and stop it.


  1. with great power comes great responsibility. lol

  2. how did the kids react? could they tell you were about to go ninja?

  3. somewhat related:


  4. I think the girl next to her noticed, but it's hard to tell: I don't understand a lot of their Spanish, plus in the flow of class I have to ignore it anyway.