Friday, 26 June 2009

On Being Loved And Left

So, today we bid a fond farewell to our latest batch of trainee teachers.
In the UK overt physical contact with your teachers is generally discouraged, as they're mostly keen to keep their CAB records clean, or at least avoid gossip and disapproval in the institutions where they teach grown-ups.

Not so in Spain. A kiss on each cheek and earnest wishes of good fortune for the future are exchanged - and not even after all concerned have sunk a goodbye beer or two. Nope, emotional scenes of farewell happen inside the classroom itself.

I remember our tutor indulgently watching the hugs, kisses and wellings-up that accompanied our own partings with the unfortunate students we practised on during our CELTA course. Given the sometimes painful experiences we'd put them through in the name of teaching them English, their affectionate goodbyes were very heartwarming and possibly undeserved.

When I told our tutor I was genuinely sorry I wouldn't be seeing them any more, he smiled and said "Of course you are. They're special because they were your first." Which made it sound a bit like a collective loss of virginity. Which in some ways, it was. The nervousness beforehand, the adrenalin surge of excitement during, the anti-climax of an off-target attempt, the need for a cigarette or beer afterwards...

Anyway, it's kind of nice to know you've booked yourself an eternally special little place in a language teacher's heart. Even after so much mangling of their beloved mother tongue. Besos y abrazos, as they say here in Spain.

(Correcto, mis profesuros?)

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