This is my third year of taking a language class at my university. For two years I was a model student, doing my homework on time and well, getting A's on tests, and making steady progress in the language along with my fellow students. There are three of us who started in the beginning course three years ago and are now in the advanced course.
In the third year language course, however, there have now appeared some new students who grew up speaking this language at home but who have never had a formal course in it. They speak this language extremely well. They do not write or read as well, but even so, a great deal of this year's course involves speaking, and I have fallen behind.
It is a bit humbling to find myself a mediocre student. It can also be frustrating, as the pace of the course has increased by an order of magnitude in terms of what we are expected to be able to say and understand. We are also now expected to speak about and write essays on cultural topics that I have to spend a lot of time researching but that those who grew up in this culture can expound on from experience.
Perhaps being a mediocre student will give me a better perspective on such students in my own classes, and therefore make me a better educator and/or human being. At least, that's what I tell myself when I have more trouble than most of the other students using relative clauses correctly.
Despite the frustration of having to struggle to keep up, I am still enjoying the class, I don't mind being stretched to my limits (and beyond), and I happen to like the curve-wrecking students -- they are nice and interesting people. Also, I am taking the class Pass-Fail.
10 years ago