Imagine sitting in class on the first day of school, looking down at the syllabus on your desk, around at all of your friends, and finally forward at ... your mom. My mom started teaching at my high school the same year that I started as a Freshman. In a way, we experienced high school together. Even more so, since I ended up being a student in her Spanish class for two years in a row.
Luckily, my mom was considered to be one of the best teachers in the school. Students came into her classroom at lunch, told her details about their lives, asked for her advice, and tweeted about how great her lessons were. Another lucky factor, I happen to be extremely passionate about Spanish language and culture. If she taught art, I definitely would have failed (that's an awkward dinner conversation). Despite the occasional "your mom is so hot!" or "does she give you an A because you're her daughter" comments and embarrassing moments/pictures revealed to the class, having her as a teacher was fairly normal.
However, being in a class with my mom meant that I was more comfortable. When I didn't understand an assignment, she was just a room away to explain it to me. When I needed to practice speaking for the AP test, she stayed up all night talking to me in Spanish about my life and plans for the future. I haven't taken a Spanish class in three years that wasn't taught by someone I was completely familiar and at ease with.
Now I'm heading off to take Spanish at the college level, with a professor who I won't know at all and will have completely different methods and rules than the ones I've grown used. What if I only liked Spanish because of the way my mom taught it? What if I was only good at it because I knew how her class worked after being in it for so long? What if my college course is suddenly impossible, or what if having a different professor makes me hate it and stop studying it? There are so many fears for my year in college that come from this experience that I've gone through.
While I've panicked over this new situation, I've thought a lot about why I've been so successful with Spanish. I've traveled to different countries like Costa Rica, Mexico, and Honduras, converted my phone to Spanish, listened to tons of Spanish music, and watched Spanish telenovelas (soap operas) all outside of class. What I've come to realize is that I don't take Spanish because my mom is the teacher. My love for this language and culture don't depend on the person writing on the board at the front of the room. I believe that a passion this strong will sustain itself no matter where I'm at.
Lead Image Credit: Kimmy Conn