It all started in 2015 when I spent five months on my Erasmus study stay at University of Balearic Islands in Palma de Mallorca. I began with an official university course but after half-term test, which results were great, I decided to ask my Mallorcan friend E. to teach me. After coming home I was dedicated to continue in Spanish lessons with her online. However, I was overwhelmed by university studies, creating our new home, commuting and my health issues that Spanish was abandoned soon after my return to Slovakia. I have started to learn Spanish again six months ago.

How it started

Fast forward to march 2021. Because of a pandemic schools and other facilities for children were closed for months. I wanted to have an activity with B. and learn something alongside, so I have decided to try learning Spanish together. I sent my request to few language schools that have online program and also teach young children. There were not many of them. I received replies: no, we do not teach such young children (2,5 years), no, we cannot teach you and your child simultaneously, yes, we can teach you and your child separately, but your child must be active and verbal and participate in Spanish lessons. At that time B. was just starting to speak…

And then an owner of a small town language school called me and I explained her, what my expectations are. When she told me that a Spanish teacher in her language school is great and has a child and she might possibly teach us, I was excited! And here we are six months later having Spanish lessons twice a week.

How it goes

I try to speak, do exercises, read. B. is near me playing, listening, asking about Spanish words I just said, sometimes coming and asking for Spanish songs… Of course, it is not a standard situation for learning – sometimes I need to help him to go to toilet, sometimes I need to find an activity for him, deal with his behavior… So the pace of learning for me is slower then it would be if I learnt by myself. But then B. starts to sing a song he made up by himself. The song is called “Cinco” and it is sung like this: repeat the word “cinco” in various pitch, gradually get faster. Then he starts repeating Spanish words after me. Then, while brushing teeth, he starts to sing a song: “Papá dedo, papá dedo, ¿dónde estás?” And then I intuitively understood the text I had read. The pace is slow, but we go forward.

Yo fui hace dos meses. Viajé a Vienna, Austria. Fuí con mi familia – mi hijo B. y mi pareja M. Duró una semana. Visitamos un zoo, librerías, parques, fuimos a caminar en un viñedo. Un inodoro en nuestros casa goteó y B. se asustó lo. El último día empacamos todos nuestras cosas y viajamos a S.

This was my homework to practice past tense. I did it after forgetting once. While writing, B. was insisting on doing something with me and he disturbed me many times. And there is just one error somewhere! And it is all right I do not know where.
Spanish notebook

These lessons are different

These Spanish lessons are different from anything I experienced before. I am a perfectionist, which predestine me for knowing everything learnt so far, no errors, no mistakes or hesitation. From the very beginning I was set up for non-perfection. After every question, whether I studied, I did not feel ashamed to say I did not. I did not feel the urge to be prepared, those lessons just passed. And this is completely new feeling. Not knowing is okay. I am a worthy person also when I do not know something. “No pasa nada.”

I rethought all my previous teaching

Now I learn by looking up in my dictionary, in my notebook or on the internet. And it is fine. I learn even I do not remember something for the first time or after few times. I expected all my students to learn like me, to be perfectionist like me. If I could remember something for the first time, why could not they?

I am so happy I experienced an am experiencing also other way of learning. Now I have more understanding for mistakes of others, especially mine, I try to build more patience with B. – showing, explaining, repeating… Working with perfectionism will probably be my life-long task.

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