The last lesson of my week is a private lesson with four 10 or 11 year old girls. Three of these girls happen to be Russian and go to the same school while the third is a Czech girl whose mother is the other girls hairdresser. These girls are very intelligent, if not incredibly crazy (I lend the craziness to the fact that is a Friday afternoon). We play games, talk about random things, go over grammar, waste time and have a laugh.
The first lesson after break my boss told me that one of the girls mother was going to come for an “open lesson” aka intimidate me and the other students. I mean really, who wants their mother to come and watch their lesson? I couldn’t practice piano or clarinet with anyone in the house for years and years. It was too embarrassing to have people hear my mistakes (not that I ever stopped making mistakes). I can only imagine how tongue-catching having a parent watching you in a language lesson would be!
The time for the lesson arrived and I was prepared for an audience. Only one student arrived. And it wasn’t even the student whose mother was supposed to come. It was the quiet Czech girl, Daniela. We chatted in broken sentences. For an hour. And a half. I was actually rather impressed with how willing she was to try and communicate, especially since she is usually quiet when the other girls are around. It could have been worse, but it was bad enough.
Ok, well that meant I could use that lesson plan for the next week (have to look on the bright side)!
Again when Friday rolled around, my boss told me that the girl’s mother was coming for sure this time. Three o’clock rolled around and Daria and her mother came in. Then Masha and her mother came in. Next Daniela, Daniela’s mother, Daniela’s dog and Daniela’s friend strolled in. Not to be left out, Ksenia and her mother came in just as the lesson was starting…..My boss had come down to greet Daria’s mother (the original one who asked if she could come to an open lesson) and gave me a wide eyed look of “I had no idea they were all coming!”.
I gritted my teeth under my smile and began the performance.
It. Was. Terrible. The normally chatty, talkative, tripping over their own words and trying to drown out each other Russian girls were quite as mute lambs. I felt like a dentist pulling teeth out of an ornery llamas mouth. The simpilest phrases had to be dragged out of them. There was no enthusiasm. It made me really sad to see.
After the infinite hour and a half, having been interrupted a few times by the dog and one or another of the mother’s cellphones ringing, finally ended, everyone got up and left. No word was spoken to me by the mothers. Nothing. My boss asked me later if they stayed for the whole lesson and if they said anything afterwards. First of all, she was surprised they stayed for the entirety of it and she was almost offended that they did not say anything to me at the end of the lesson. My boss had been told by the organizer that they wanted to see the lesson because they had noticed an improvement in the girls English. So the lesson wasn’t a “What is it that I am spending my money on?” but a “I am curious about this”. I am not sure what kind of impression I made with that lesson.
Oh well, that is done and I hope it never happens again. If my boss hears anything back from the mothers, I will probably hear about it.