Be Kind and Gentle


If I’ve made it clear on the blog that German class is a wee bit difficult then I’ve made myself quite the nuisance complaining to the few people I see here on a regular basis. Please indulge me in a bit of catharsis. Three weeks into the class and we are past the point of this business being hard. Now, everyone in the class has shown their true colors and let me tell you it is not pretty.

At first I was startled by the lack of compassion some of my classmates showed to their colleagues. I want to make clear that everyone in this class is in their twenties or thirties. So, very much adults. I fully understand that learning a foreign language is difficult and doesn’t always bring out one’s best side, but really, laughing at someone’s face while they try to stammer out a six-word sentence? That’s the best you can do? And ganging up on the four women from Eritrea, who, let’s get real for a quick minute, probably did not arrive here under the same optimistic circumstances as the rest of the crew? That’s who you want to be, then?

Slightly dumbfounded, I chalked up this unseemly behavior to insecurity, which is most certainly a contributing factor. But the more I thought about it I am convinced that so much of it also has to do with our varying educational backgrounds. Elementary school isn’t a safe space for a lot of kids, those in the States very much included. But what about for kiddos in Morrocco? Or youngsters in Syria? Or Tibet? All these countries, and more, are represented in my class and I’m inclined to believe that we share very few experiences when it comes to education. Therefore, how can I paint what my classmates are doing to one another as wrong if they don’t know anything different in a classroom setting? I’m making a few wild speculations here, so please do forgive. It’s just that as one who was trained as a teacher, and, let’s face it, a human being, my heart hurts a little at the cattiness and general meanness displayed every Monday and Wednesday from 10-11:30.

I have nothing but time over here and I really love being a student so learning German with an earnest intention is something I’m committed to doing. But an environment like this is less than conducive for meaningful work. Unfortunately, my skills are still rudimentary at best and I don’t quite know how to communicate clearly that I wish everyone would just be a little more kind to one another.

(image found on the remains of the Berlin Wall)

2 thoughts on “Be Kind and Gentle

    • I don’t know! It’s upsetting to be sure. I’m also surprised that the teacher lets it go on. I wish she would say something! Other than that blind eye, she’s a really good teacher so I’m reluctant to leave the class.

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