A fourth grade student decides to take an after-school Spanish class. She is eager to learn the language as her abuelos speak the language and she does not. One afternoon, the teacher has the all the students stand in a semi-circle so that everyone can see one another. She presents each student an index card and on one side is a Spanish word and the other side is the English translation. One by one the students read aloud the Spanish word with the English translation facing his peers. The teacher then asks “Now what does that mean in English?” And the student replies with the correct word.
It is my turn, I am the 4th grade student. My word is “qué”. I don’t know what it means. I pronounce “qué” out loud to my peers while there are butterflies in my stomach because I know that I don’t know what this word means. I think to myself, ’Please teacher just tell me the answer.’
“What does qué mean?”, she asks already looking at the next student as she assumes I will know the answer.
“I don’t know,” I murmur. Puzzled, she asks again. And again, I murmur “I don’t know.” This repeated itself at least once more.
“That’s okay,” she politely says. “Qué means what,” she simply states.
But I heard, ”¿Qué? means what?”
“I don’t know!” I cry out. ”I don’t know what qué means!”
Well if you are not familiar with the Spanish language, “Qué” is the Spanish word for “What”. Qué IS what.
Without a doubt this is one of the most embarrassing moments in my life! Makes me LOL now!!!
This might have been my earliest encounter of “we hear what we want to hear’. The teacher was giving me the answer and all I heard was interrogation! It does describe much of how I have participated in my life. So wrapped up in getting it right or wrapped up in myself, I am missing the answers being handed right to me This is my life folks.
It took that 4th grader until she was a Freshman in college to try Spanish again but she hasn’t stopped. Thank God for my willingness to learn in this stage. I’ve almost got it.