Tras haber creado mi anterior blog cecilmundo varias personas, muchos de ellos mis alumnos, me sugirieron que creara una secciòn dentro de cecilmundo para publicar mis obras de docencia de idiomas. Dado que la cantidad de documentos de explicaciones, ejercicios y exàmenes de inglès son muy numerosos porque tengo màs de 30 años del ejercicio de la docencia, preferì estrenar blog con mis alumnos a como ellos realmente merecen. En este blog planetcecil no solo iràn mis documentos didàcticos de inglès, sino tambièn la producciòn literaria de varios alumnos que se destacan en las letras. Tambièn darè oportunidad a aquellos que tienen excelentes obras pero que no han logrado publicarlas ya que en mi paìs Nicaragua todo se mueve por la marrana polìtica, y si una no pertenece a determinado partido no verà jamàs publicado su opus. Tambièn tenemos la desgracia de contar con seudoeditores quienes al no conocer verdaderamente de literatura se convierten en mercenarios de la imprenta solo para llenarse ellos mismo de dinero y fama a costillas de los escritores. Todos aquellos que deseen participar en este blog, denlo de antemano por suyo. Aunque lleve mi nombre en un arranque de egolatrìa, yo soy sencillamente vuestra servidora.Cecilia

Las alas de la educación

Las alas de la educación
La educación es un viaje sin final.

La lección de física

La lección de física
Casi aprendida

domingo, 29 de junio de 2008

On Teacher`s Day

5th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
To Sir-Or Madam-with Love
These guys came into this valley of tears called world on June 29th:

1858 George Washington Goethals, engineer (built Panama Canal without the mosquitoes` help and taught us a lesson in tenacity and endurance, of course backed up by the fabulous Teddy Roosevelt who was a walking university in boots)
1900 Antoine Saint-Exupery ,France, aviator/writer (Wind, Sand & Stars, The Little Prince).He was bound to disappear into the horizon in 1944, teaching us all to never take anyone for granted.

1941 Ignace Paderewski Polish statesman and pianist, died in NY at 80, teaching us that pianists should stick to their keyboard and not blather nonsense in politics

On the other hand

1955 Emmanuel Mongalo y Rubio, Nicaraguan teacher and patriot, left his classroom to defend the sovereignty of Nicaragua fighting against the filibusters(mericans,of course,are you surprised?) Mongalo had been born on June 21st,1834 and the battle took place on June 29th,1955. The Americans were ousted by this brave man when he set the house where they were lodged on fire. Mongalo taught us to be patriots not only in theory but in practice. He would die on February 1st,1872,but we would always remember him as a teacher and hero on June 29th,when we celebrate Teacher`s Day in Nicaragua.

I am what my teachers made me, used to say Emperor Frederick II the Great of Prussia, and he tenderly adored his flute teacher. Well, I am not going to lay the blame on my teachers for all the foibles and quirks I may have now as a teaching matron. My first class that I ever taught was way back in the seventies, when I was a teenager and my dad decided it was time for my mom to get her high school degree. My grandmother was a lovely woman, but she believed that ladies had not much use for education, which is strange because she was very well read. When my mom failed her freshman year at high school, her mother decided to hire a French chef to educate her. She learned her trade so quickly she soon had her own catering business and was financially independent.
But she f hadn` t finished high school. She got married, became a mother,and no high school degree. Then she began participating in several gastronomic events throughout Central America and Mexico, and one of the requirements was for the participants to have a high school diploma. My dad got the best teachers to tutor my mom with the help of the Minister of Education. Antonio Mora Rostràn. She would have no commencement ceremony, no toga, no ring nor uniform. The English teacher was a very nice American fellow from Boston, Ken Grainger. I already spoke perfect English so I was assigned to help her with English. It was difficult tutoring my own mother. She was there, bodily, but her mind was always wandering to her catering business, I would try my best,and then every time she made a mistake she would hit me. Nevertheless I fell in love with teaching.
There is something magical, wonderful and addictive in the act of passing knowledge from one person to another. It is like nurturing a baby in your belly, like a pregnant woman does.
There were teachers that I never forgot. Although I wasn`t happy at the school itself where I went, I did find some good professors. My Spanish was solidly built by a dark and sultry lady, Mrs Carmen Cajina. She taught me to love Rubèn Darìo`s poetry. I was insolent, rowdy and opinionated, and she enjoyed being with me. She is still alive and every time I see her, my heart turns bright and soft.
James Martin was an American who taught English at school. Stern, efficient and scholarly, it was said this guy never gave an A. When he finally gave me a hundred as a grade, I spent the whole night looking at the graded paper. Years later, when I taught English at the same school and I produced my first books, I told him he was a co-author because he taught me how to write. I know that thanks to my pranks, Mr. Martin got a good amount of gray hairs.
I knew I was destined to become a teacher when one of my professors at college in France asked me to visit a very haughty and rich duke, who was a widower and had two adolescent girls who had been expelled from several posh schools. The girls had already gotten rid of 20 tutors before me, and they were very ready to dismiss me on the first day. But they didn`t count on their pets` opinion. As soon as I arrived at the enormous overdecorated home, four enormous Dobermann dogs came to greet me. They were ready to bite.My heart froze,so I froze my body and let them sniff and smell and paw me. They seemed to like what they saw. After they finished perusing me, an enormous overfed Angora cat majestically approached me, sniffed and then made a whole turn around me.I was accepted. The cat had dictaminated that I was a morsel fit to be hers. The two teenagers came out from behind a curtain and greeted me warmly, saying that if her pets thought I was okay there was no reason to have an argument about it with the animals. We sat down for our first lesson. I was barely a few years older than the girls, but they learned to respect, obey and then love me. I tutored them for 3 years , and when I was about to return with my degrees to Nicaragua they begged me in tears to stay in France. The motherless little duchesses had found someone to love. We still keep in touch now that they are married, mothers of several rowdy kids, and they still keep begging me to return so I can help them with their hyperkinetic children.
During my almost 32 years of teaching. I have discovered that many students don’t care how much you know, but they start smiling when they know how much you care for them. Many young boys have become the son I never had the chance to bear. Ricardo Lòpez(who used to hang from the fan or scream into my mobile phone Whatssssssssup, leaving me nearly deaf),Johnny Murillo Echegoyen(who once got an average of 104 but the nasty school where I was working didn`t allow me to put it on his grades), the incomparable Korean Jung Yun An, who was as gifted and smart as medieval bard Guillaume D`Aquitaine, the peerlessly beautiful Carlos Martinez Meyerbeer who still calls me Mother after so many years since he graduated in 2001, the ambitious and very hard-working Magda Suarez(who is now working in Spain and still calls me mama), lovely and pragmatic Jorge Luis Padilla, who is still getting tutored by me in English grammar…the list is endless. It includes the rector and vice rectress of a private university, a top cardiologist who also speaks perfect French and the craziest army officer I have had the pleasure to have around.
I wonder what would my music teacher, Salvador Cardenal, think of my teaching method. Unorthodox, yet efficient, and with lots of wit. Would my piano teacher Julio Max Blanco still agree that the ox cannot whistle like a songbird? What about Ian Heathstone Armstrong, my stern Vritish grammar teacher, who would deny me a hundred if I had misplaced a comma? Stll alive, Ian is now a respectable peer of the realm and spends half his time in England and the other half in France. He also taught my own Uncle Silvio, who decided to become a grammarian in his fifties, just after I came back from France and I left his nest partially empty. No matter if we leave the classroom, the teacher will always be with us for the rest of our lives, whether we want it or not. Life itself is a wonderful teacher, and it approaches you through kismet to people who will not only learn with you but teach you many things that don`t appear in textbooks. In that sense, half Palestinian half Nicaraguan Anwar Hassan-master journalist-will always be in my heart, as well as fat and pragmatic Emigdio Suàrez, who wasn`t only a boss but a great cicerone. Bèla Bartok, Hungarian composer, used to say that teachers were created by god so that parents could have a small break. Ditta Pasztòry`s parents sure got a break when this 16-year ol teacher married Bèla,who was her mentor,and became his second wife. Not only did Bèla bartòk take charge of Ditta`s life and studies, but also the redheaded Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi, who went as far as to drop his soutane and establish himself with his trumpetist Cecilia, a former student.
King Stefan Cel Mare of Moldavia also had a crush on his music teacher, who was 14 years his senior and surely taught him more than how to handle a musical instrument. When she went back to Russia the handsome patriot was off colour for weeks. Students, students. What would we do without them? On days when I don`t teach something is missing.
Life teaches you that an empty classroom means an empty heart for the teacher. Have you ever sen the old flick To Sir with Love, with the wonderful Sidney Poitier as the teacher? Would it make you laugh to know that every time Lulu sang the theme To Sir with Love, I break into goosebumps and have to wrestle with my feelings so I don`t start getting tears? Nobody who has ever failed with me-and they are so few that I have fingers left over from one hand- would believe that. If you are to become a teacher, never expect to serve only the hours you are paid for. The teacher is the apostle of learning society. Let the phone ring at anytime and you are there ,at the service of your students. Otherwise, find another job-and you and your students will be better off.
I cannot close this entry without remembering that life through your friends gives you the gentlest teachers you may have. I learmed through my best friend Oscar Cortez that I should never judge anyone until I have walked a mile in his or her shoes. I learned through my history student and co-webmaster Augusto Gòmez not to postpone saying how much you love someone until it is too late. They are both gone now, living in my memory. I learned through my associate Adolfo that you don`t have to be so old to be so wise, and he also started out as my diligent English student.
Life can be your best teacher but you must know how to listen to the subliminal messages she sends.
I look forward to learning more from friends and life and my own students, because a diploma is only the license for you to continue the learning process. Life`s little lessons come in chips, people, from the way you get an advice from someone who is your soulmate although you have only just met him, to the books that lie in your shelf waiting to be touched and told “get up and go” like Jesus is supposed to have said to the legendary Lazarus. You simply put all the chips together, in plainclothes or as a person in military uniform, and they meld together and make the big difference.

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