I nearly lost my shit in Danish lesson today.
The first thing that pissed me off was the teacher moved me. She asked me to sit with some other people (who I do not know very well).
She then went on NOT to cater for my learning style by giving me a sheet of comprehension questions and asking me to *talk* about them with my group. I hate talking about comprehension questions with the group. You either got it or you didn’t, teachers. There is no discussion.
Then there was a whole bunch of her asking my opinion on work-life balance but not the normal one where you have a really cool teacher who has to balance their work and their life but the BORING one where you have a married couple with kids.
Who cares? I am not married, I will not get married. I don’t have kids, I will not get kids. Who cares if someone works full time or part time?
There was the added complication that I am not good enough at Danish to talk about this shit. I wanted to say something along the lines of “well, someone needs to look after the kids who actually knows them. These daycare centres have such a high staff turnover that the children will be cared for by different people and that is not stable. Doesn’t matter if it is Mum or Dad or Grandparents, just as long as they are someone the child can trust,”
I put it more simply but (and this may come as a shock), I have been doing Danish for FOUR MONTHS and therefore do not have the vocab nor grammar to put those thoughts together.
I would have struggled in French and I am shithot at French. She kept saying “try, go on, keep going” but I know when I do not know something.
There was a bit where I almost cried. I got through a really long sentence, explaining it all and she goes “No, I didn’t understand that at all, could you rephrase” and it was so frustrating because of course, if I could have rephrased it better, I would have.
What I need to be doing is elementary Danish speaking practice to bring my confidence up. She tried to get me going by asking about my family.
All they ever want to know in Danish is about my fucking family.
The thing of it is MY family is easy, I live alone, no kids, no boyfriend. But that isn’t the Danish way so I have to talk about my parents and brothers.
And my family, in common with much of Britain, are really bloody complicated to talk about.
Even in English, I don’t bother explaining it all because it is complicated to the point of tedium. The constant house moving, the different jobs my parents did, the things my brothers have been doing.
It is not like in Denmark where Mum is a paedagog and Dad works in a fabrik and you have always lived in Skagen in a little house with your brother and sister. And you all went to kindergarten at 12 months and school at 6 years old.
I mean, Jesus, she wanted to know had my mother worked when I was growing up and the answer is sort of. The answer is complicated. The answer is not “yes” or “no” or “part time”, it is “hang on, let me draw you a diagram” even in English. I required the word “dog handler” and only because I could not be bothered to get into the whole “sort of like police but not military police and he kind of guarded nukes as best as I could make out but he did not really talk about it”
I need to be practicing my Danish for the shops and for the post office and for officials. I have been saying “I have come to deliver my package” when I mean “pick up” for a month. And why is that? Because I know how to say “the children from day care went on a trip to the pond” instead.
The course assumes I am a mother who is evily not going to speak Danish to her children, DAMAGING THEM FOR LIFE. So, it equips me to have a good Danish family life. I swear to God, one of the words I have learned in Sprog Skole is “cornflakes”.
When do I get to learn about buying things? When do I get to learn about how to be polite? They assume I have already learned it and I have not.
Then to top it all off, I wrote a longish piece about my opinions on work life balance and she was like “oh, the task was to write about your day to day routine” which I had misread. Because who writes to an agony aunt about their routine?
I dropped out of Danish and got arsey again “Why do I need to know how to be able to write that?” which actually had her stumped which made me feel bad.
I really could do with a list of learning objectives (imagine ME saying that). I really could do with “this lesson you will learn…” I really would like to see what I am being taught.
I love learning languages and this is the first time I have ever felt so disheartened. And it is all from being asked to do something beyond my ken. And being moved away from my friend when I wasn’t doing anything wrong. And being given tasks that I could not see the utility of.
I am so careful not to do this stuff in class so it really hacks me off when it is done to me. I could see that she could see that I was pissed off and I felt bad. It is a bit of a double bind, of course you don’t want your teacher to have a bad lesson just because you’re grumpy. But I need practice in the basics before I can be asked about what I think about working Mums.
Shit, I do not even know the word “someone” in Danish, how the Hell can I express “well, as long as SOMEONE is home, it doesn’t matter”
The subject matter is too hard for me. It wasn’t the lesson plan, the lesson plan was fine. But it was for the wrong person. And not entirely sure what I would have learned even if I had been able to express myself.
Afterwards, I had a lovely evening at the pub quiz. I laughed so hard at one stage I got hiccups for the rest of the evening. We came second this week.
Also, got a postcard from Costa Rica from Swap Bot. That was enough to make me crack a smile too. I still like it here but am considering quitting Danish class and going it alone. I suppose I will feel different in the morning.