- Spanish native: your friend told me you’re fluent in Spanish!
- me thinking: don’t do it
- spanish native: starts speaking extra fast Spanish slang, only learned on the actual streets of Mexico
- me: oh my god
I’m almost through with my 60 hours of private Spanish lessons. It is well worth the money. Here is why:
I’ve done the school Spanish classes using the books, learning the grammar and vocabulary, conjugating the verbs, etc. These classes are absolutely necessary for knowledge building of a language. And I always did exceptional on my tests.
However, I still could not hear or speak Spanish that well. Books did not prepare me for the rapid fire of the native speaker, slang, accents, idioms, etc. Book language is not reality. It’s disappointing and can be a little embarrassing when people ask you why you cannot understand a language when you’ve taken 4 years of classes. (Ugh…)
I have Spanish vocabulary and grammar in my head, but I need to practice pulling it out in conversation. This my friends, is not easy. Trying to hear another language, understand the meaning of what someone says without having to translate every word, then responding in conversation time, picking out the correct conjugation of verb in the correct order with adverbs, conjunctions, adjectives, etc. (Double ugh…)
The beauty of the private language class is that it’s catered to you and your needs. My main need at this point is practice. To practice listening and speaking, and to let go of my fear of speaking. My class is 2 hours daily and at the end of class, I am mentally EXHAUSTED from concentrating the whole time. But is my Spanish better? Yes. Can Sr. Elizondo notice a difference in my Spanish after 45 hours? Yes. Are private Spanish classes worth it after the standard 4 years of school language? In my case, yes.
Also worth noting: The teacher I have now is super friendly and a brainiac. She has a masters in Literature and strong knowledge of grammar/linguistics/language learning as she has studied in multiple countries. It’s a definite plus to have a well educated teacher.