Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hooked on Phonics

I've cheated in school before.

It's hard to admit that to anyone.

OK, it was minor cheating. It was in Spanish II and my second semester of college. We were required to write a paragraph in Spanish. I loathed that class. Foreign languages are the hardest skill for me to master, and this perfectionist isn't used to B's.

We were allowed to use our dictionaries, so on the inside cover I wrote words to prompt me throughout the timed exercise. I probably didn't need them, but I was so intimidated and scared of not getting an A.

I got caught. Cheaters almost always do. I remember the teacher well, though I don't recall her name. She was a graduate student -- all of them are -- with red hair. She rolled her backpack behind her on the sidewalk. Some of the boys made fun of her for that. She was really nice.

I remember her telling me in an indirect way that she knew I had cut corners on the quiz and would I like to retake it in her office? She said it with a smile on her face, and somehow I knew it was going to be OK.

I got an A in the class that semester.

A few months later, I enrolled in Spanish III. I had to go to the GA's office that summer, too. Not because I cheated, but because I had to take an oral exam. He told me I should major in Spanish because I was a natural. I laughed with him, at him, at myself, silently recalling my last quiz I took in a GA's office.

I'm one who easily picks up on the parallels that run through life. Maybe that's why I love Grey's Anatomy so much. Every operation, every emergency room stay connects with the lives of the doctors.

On Monday, I tried to learn Hebrew. It was hard. Memories of Spanish made a reprisal in my brain, my eyes watered and I stammered over the lesson. I wiped away tears, hoping fervently that no one noticed.

At one point, I thought about giving up, about telling them to skip me, maybe even leaving the room to collect myself. But Ryan, the jerk, wouldn't let me give up and no one else would either.

So I said a few words and made a few sounds, and thank G_d it's over for now.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I wish you could've seen/heard me this morning doing my daily Spanish lesson. I have to repeat phrases from a Spanish story, and I know I sound ridiculous. I'm hoping that sounding ridiculous now will help me to sound less ridiculous in Costa Rica. I loved your post.