Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Still remembered...

For about four years I was teaching at this low budget Adult School, in the outskirts of Barcelona. My classes where mainly to middle-aged-going-on 'till senior citizens, and in many groups it was directly these grannies who had only just learnt to read and write the year before and now were forced to 'learn' English!

The job came to me from a friend's boyfriend, who was doing it and couldn't stand it through the whole term, and wanted me to stand in for him. I didn't, but was introduced to the school for the next term and only left when I started working at an office and couldn't combine the timetables. I have been offered the classes back a number of times since, every time someone dropped out, as it took all your patience and warmth to teach this sort of people. It was not just teaching, you were part of their new life, of their will to learn in their 60s, their ambitions... and their desperation when they saw how hard it could be.

There were also people, mixed in the groups, who were slightly retarded and had to attend as part of the payback for having a government benefit, kinda 'integration' scheme... Really easy to deal with, honey!!!

I also had groups of teenager semi-delinquents, school drop-outs who were there to get their basic Graduado Escolar title you get at the age of 14, and once they were 17 they could do it at an adult school.

Finally, there were also the groups of over-25-year-olds who were attending a special course to sit an exam to enter University, with quite different levels of English knowledge, and who had to concentrate on reading comprehension, as the exam was always based on a text -that could be anything from an extract of a novel, out of context, to a piece of news or even a recipe for Spanish omelet!

Well, the teachers and the old ladies were really sorry when I left, and so was I -I liked forming part of this community. Kept in touch with the directress, who is more of a friend now than an ex-boss, but have lost contact with her during the last year.

Yesterday I got this phone call from one of the teachers who basically run the school, Montse. She's nice, a real teacher-and-housewife-and-mother-and-full-stop sort of person, kind hearted and reliable but would never really understand Nuria, the directress, older than her but raised her son on her own and still partying -yep, that's why we became friends, she had found at last someone she could talk to!. Anyway, this Montse woman called me and asked me if I remembered her -of course I do! How are you?! -blah blah blah- and she had phoned to invite me to the 25th Anniversary of this school!!!

Nice to know they remember you and still want you around.

Shall make my way through Barcelona right after work to see them!