Most of my readers are either college students (like me), teachers or working people that just want to learn Spanish. I never thought there was another important group of readers.
Today’s advice is going to be useful for college students and people that take classes as well, but it’s specifically written for high school students.
So… hey mate. What’s up? Going through a tough time, aren’t you? You hate the government for killing people in Iraq, you hate your parents because they don’t understand you and you hate school because all teachers suck. Wow, your life blows. No wonder 90% of you is really insecure, it sucks being you, being a teen.
And worst of all; the government, your parents and school force you to learn some dumb language. Let it be French, Spanish or German; you all shit on them. They suck. Also, it’s very well possible that you’re only reading this article and site because you want to pass Spanish class. Well mate, here you’ll find the answer.
No, I’m not going to teach you any Spanish, simply because I think you are kind of right. Most classes suck. You’re not 5 anymore, so why is that idiot teacher forcing you to sing a stupid children’s song? Indeed, he S-U-C-K-S! Like… really hard.
So here’s my advice. Take it or leave it, it’s up to you. But if you have some guts, you’ll actually learn something and have fun. Okay, here it goes.
The biggest problem with classes is that there is no fun. Remember the verb tables? The boring textbooks? The pathetic children’s song, sung by American kids with a worse Spanish accent than you have? Screw them!
Demand The Simpsons in Spanish. Demand Spanish rap music. Demand comics in Spanish. Demand sexy pen pals from the Dominican Republic.
You’re supposed to learn something, right? So step up and tell the teacher how you want to learn! Gather some classmates and start a mini-riot. Refuse to cooperate with the teacher. Go far to get fun in class.
Don’t you just sit in class doing nothing. Now that you’ve got fun, you should actually make an effort to learn something, so ask questions.
Now, personally I’m a bit allergic to studying grammar and investigating how every tiny thing the Spanish language works, but that’s not the only thing you can ask.
Prepare yourself for class and ask questions about the words and expressions you encountered. Heck, you should look up stuff yourself and ask your teacher when you can use it. Look up slang and use it in class, but don’t forget to ask when you can use it or not.
I remember having a student who was a big fan of reggaeton, and boy did he ask questions. Now, most of what he asked was plain vulgar or at least slang, but he was learning Spanish.
Don’t ask for words, ask for sentences
Asking the meaning of cool expressions is fine, but teachers often have to teach a certain amount of vocabulary as well.
Unfortunately, many use word lists. Long, boring word lists. Lists that make you want shoot yourself, that long and boring. But because boredom is impossible in your ideal class (and you deserve the ideal language class), there’s no way you’re accepting those, are you?
So ask for context. No, don’t ask. Oblige your teacher to provide an example sentence for every word he wants you to learn. At least one sentence. For. Every. Freakin’. Word. He. Wants. You. To. Learn. ¿Me entiendes? ¿Sí? Good.
And oh, not just sentences. Fun sentences. Jokes. Weird expressions. Just things you’ll remember, otherwise you and your classmates will continue failing class.
Speak Spanish in class
Your accent probably sucks, but don’t you worry. Although I generally believe that you should shut up and just listen to your teacher, it’s better speaking some Spanish with a shipwrecked accent than no Spanish at all.
The key is to listen carefully to your teacher (especially when he/she is a native) and imitate his speech. Don’t think you’re an idiot when you try to imitate one’s accent and way of speaking, you’re only a moron when you keep talking with a thick accent that no one will understand.
Do fun things at home
It’s easy to bash other people, but how is your attitude? Maybe you’re just sitting in class, trying to sabotage as much as you can. Now, this can be fun but it’ll also cause you to fail Spanish.
But now that you have some fun in class because your teacher finally uses bad-ass materials, it’s time for you to take action.
It’s never a bad idea to do some Spanish in your free time. That can be doing homework, but I shit on homework as much as you do. No, doing homework is not really fun (although it’s possible to make it less a pain in the ass – although I don’t know how), you need something real.
Most serious learners immerse themselves in Spanish, but Spanish is probably just another school subject for you. Still, there’s some really cool music around in Spanish. And the girls man… WOW. Watch some movies with Penélope Cruz. Even if you understand nothing she’s still smokin’ hot.
So, music. Metal, pop, punk, rap, reggaeton; everything counts. When it’s in Spanish, it’s good for you. This way you’ll have both fun and learn something outside class.
To finish this long-ass post I have one final tip for you: be creative. I gave you some good pointers to get you started, but I’m sure there are many more ways you can improve Spanish class yourself.
Life’s a bitch, especially when you’re in high school. In fact, I hated high school 3/4 of the time; I only enjoyed my senior year. Why? Because that last year I decided I had to improve the boring classes myself, and it worked.
Now that I’m in college professors ask us how to improve their classes all the time. There’s nothing wrong about taking advice from your students. Teachers reading this should realize that. And for the students I wrote this post for: don’t forget to remind your teacher that the goal is that you learn something, so you should be able to enjoy class. And oh, don’t forget to tell him/her that some weird kid from the Netherlands told you there’s nothing from with teachers accepting advice from their students.