Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Students And the Upcoming Elections

Since in my Advanced Spanish Conversation class we are supposed to cover the vocabulary relating to politics, I decided to use this opportunity to remind the students of the upcoming elections. "So," I said to open up a discussion, "I guess everybody here is going to vote on Tuesday, right?" The students looked perplexed and said nothing. "Do they suddenly not understand what I'm saying?" I thought. "That's weird, because at this point in the course their listening comprehension skills are very advanced. So I tried again, speaking very slowly. "You know that there will be elections on Tuesday, right? Elections? Voting? Congress? Senate?" All these words sound almost the same in Spanish and in English, but the students still looked very confused.

Finally, the students gave me some feedback.

"Elections?" drawled one of them. "Huh. . ."
"Hmm," said another student.
"Ahh. . ." added two more students.

So I abandoned the failed conversation about politics and talked about the difference between English and Spanish interjections instead.

I hear that the Dems' only hope is a good voter turnout. Well, all I can say to that is "Hmm. . ."


el said...

Why are you sure most of your students would vote for the Dems? From your posts I got the opposite impression since they seem extremely conservative. May be them not voting would be good. Did Obama win in this state and you think they still support him?

Clarissa said...

Obama was our state's senator (Illinois), so obviously the state supported him. Except the part where I live (Southern Illinois). Lucky me, eh? :-(

It's true that many of my students (although not all) are very conservative. They've been brainwashed by their fundamentalist communities, so that's no wonder. Still, the apathy towards the elections is wide-spread. Compared with the level of enthusiasm people had for the 2008 and even 2006 elections, now nobody seems to care much.