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I cannot put this into words.

Today I answered a phone call from a women who wanted to know what she needed to do to teach Spanish. Of course, when you assume something, you make an ass of you and me. I assumed she meant for a high school or middle school, so I said our college didn't have a Bachelor's in teaching Spanish, but maybe she could get her AA from us then move on to the university - it might save her driving and money - and recommended she talk to an advisor. She cut me off and said she didn't want to get a bachelor's degree because that would be four years and questioned the fact that she needed a BA. She was 59 and just got laid off from her sheet-metal job and didn't have the time or inclination to go to school for four years, plus she wasn't sure she could handle that much school. I said she could check with the county school board to see their requirements, but that when I was pursing my education degree in the 1990's they required at least a BA.

Then, curious, I asked if she was fluent in Spanish. She said she wasn't fluent, but she knew a little Spanish.

I was stumped. I kept telling her to talk to an advisor, and she kept trying to tell me about the JobsPlus program that would pay her to go back to school and how it's been her dream for some time now to teach Spanish.

Remember my assumption about teaching for a school? Well, after nine minutes on the phone with her she said she knew a guy who didn't have a BA and he taught Spanish from his house so why couldn't she do that, too? I, amazed, said that if she was going to teach from her home she probably didn't need any degree whatsoever - she just needed to convince someone to pay her. I may have said anyone could try to teach yoga or knitting or anything from their house BUT that it seemed like she'd need a license or a business program or something to entice people to study under her or cover her legally. (AT THIS POINT I'M JUST MAKING STUFF UP ARGH!!)

At that she said she thought she'd at least need an Associate's degree plus she wanted to take some Spanish classes with us. I told her that she was getting into areas that I was not able to help her with once she got beyond instructions for how to apply for admission to the college and that her best step was to either talk to advising, Jobs Plus (again), the career center, or possibly the Small Business Development center with the idea that once she knew what she was doing then our office could register her.

She still wanted to keep me on the phone and tell me more about her dreams of teaching Spanish and her life story, but I insisted that unless she was talking about traditional teacher programs I could not help her, and finally got off the phone then promptly burst into fits of giggling. In Spanish.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2010 03:23 pm (UTC)
A common phenomenon these days is someone being so grateful to FINALLY get a real person on the phone that they are reluctant to give up talking to them. Also they probably don't have anyone to talk to in real life. I noticed when I worked at the Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped that nearly everyone I talked to on the phone felt compelled to tell me their age about every three sentences, interspersed with details of their personal biography.
May. 1st, 2010 12:38 am (UTC)
That does sound quite reasonable, actually. She got 9+ minutes of company from me, so hopefully that helped her some. :D

I kept telling myself that I needed to cut her some slack - if you've never been to college before it can be confusing. PLus, she was almost 60, so I should respect your elders. Buy my mother is 71, and she knows you can't just decide you want to teach Spanish without knowing the language and that you need a license. So I did try very hard to sound patient - but it's registration and busy and she was asking the impossible. *sigh*

Based on my pet peeves and annoying work experiences, whenever I am the person on the other end of the phone I try very hard to 1) have a pen and pencil before I dial; 2) write down the name of the person I'm talking to right away; 3) summarize what I need & ask to be transferred to the appropriate department instead of trying to talk to whoever answers the phone, and 4) fight the urge to over share. It's hard sometimes!
Apr. 29th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
Chicka is muy loco.

And THAT is the extent of my spanish.
May. 1st, 2010 12:39 am (UTC)
Tu es muy intelligente. (?)

She was actually NOT the craziest student I dealt with this week.
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
Umm.... WOW. She wants to teach something that she doesn't really know? Maybe I should start teaching German... I bet I now more german than she does spanish.

Although I have had plenty of jobs where I've had someone who apparently just simply needed to talk.
May. 1st, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
I bet you could teach German - you got me off to a good start. Sadly I didn't keep it up. :(

In my example I said I could teach knitting - knowing full well that I could not! I actually felt bad about that, but it was the first thing that came to mind and correcting myself would have just been confusing. *sigh*

I'm guessing that was part of her issue - but it felt like she was just a "talker" not that she needed someone to talk to, you know?
Apr. 29th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
Wow. I mean, there is something to be said for that can do attitude but sometimes there is such a thing as getting in over your head.
May. 1st, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
Re: Umm....
I know!! I kept seeing all sorts of problems she would run into, but when I started mentioning some of them she dismissed them saying shouldn't apply to what she was wanting to do because all she wanted was to teach Spanish from her house. It didn't seem like anything I was saying was having any impact. After my first few attempts to rationally and reasonable talk about "teaching Spanish" were shot down I just gave up and didn't want to mention other potential issues because that was just prolonging the call.
Apr. 29th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
The answer to your question is ¿Estás serio?

I never got a driver's license, but I've always dreamed of being a driving teacher so WHY WON'T THE DRIVING SCHOOL HIRE ME BAWWWWWW
May. 1st, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for the translation :) I can use that.
Your icon is awesome!

I don't want to teach at the DMV; I just want to show people how to idle in my driveway.
May. 4th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
My dream is to teach clown school at my house. You are all invited to enroll. It's $1,000.
May. 5th, 2010 03:24 am (UTC)
I volunteer to work as your registrar!!!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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