Saturday, September 22, 2007
I thought I'd give you some details concerning our language acquisition. Before we headed to the field we asked prayer for the provision of good teachers in the town of Siedlce. We were hoping to hire teachers to personally work with Ginger and I so we could avoid the large classroom setting. The idea behind this was that a personal teacher would be able to work more on our weaknesses and move quickly over our strong areas (though those are few and far between). She would be able to focus on our pronunciation and grammar. Also, much of language requires working in groups, this has many positives but one negative is that you can sit passively in a group and let others do the work. When its just two of you in class and there is a group assignment you are forced to do it or it doesn't get done. Also, we were hoping for two teachers to alternate days and curriculum. Using two curriculums helps to cover any deficiencies in either curriculum. Our coworkers found two new and highly recommended curriculums so all we needed were teachers. Then one day Sarah Layer was talking to a neighbor who lives above them and through the coversation she found out that Monica had a master's degree in teaching English but she had not worked over the past four years while her child was young. Monica teaches us 3x a week for two hours at a time and then gives us two hours of homework each day. Our other teacher Kasia was recommended to us by one of the first acquaintances we made while in Poland. She is a English teacher at a local highschool and she teaches us 2x a week 2 hours each day with two hours of homework. We are very thankful for this answer to prayer and have found our teachers to be quite gifted also they certainly don't mind being tough on us and forcing us out of our comfort zones. I think they enjoy dishing out the homework which is always the sign of a good teacher.
One funny incident took place a few weeks ago in class. We were supposed to create sentences about meeting and talking with different people. I decided to use a sentence with Ginger and my mom and I used a verb that I thought ment "meeting or dealing with." After saying the sentence our teacher first blushed and then burst out in laughter. When she finally stopped she explained that I had just said in Polish "Ginger would like to end my mother's life." Technically the verb means "to deal with" but in the since of dealing with it "mafia style" if you know what I am saying. There are actually many more stories like that but time fails us to tell you about them all. We are having our language lessons in the building our church is renting, both of our teachers know why we are here and why we are learning Polish. Just this week Monica said to us, "I've noticed that you have Bible verses everywhere in your building, the Bible seems to be very important to you. We Catholics say the Bible is important but only the priests know what it says." I was amazed at her observations.