Daily Dose of Dialect

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Dylan Brehm

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Dylan Brehm, Op-Ed

It’s the season of checking lists twice and reviewing the year. While the naughty list is quite long for 2020, there is one aspect that has rejuvenated me in one of my most difficult subjects: Spanish. Spanish is especially difficult for me, as I solely speak English at home and my only glimpse at Spanish culture is within the walls of Mountainside; however, even that was taken when the pandemic unfolded. I seriously worried about my Spanish ability, now that I was home all day. When I learned I would now have Spanish every day, contrary to the normal every-other-day, I felt my nervous energy rise.

These stressors ended up being nullified, as I began feeling more competent and encouraged this year. Where, normally, I would have had trouble speaking off the cuff, I can now do so without much thought. I believe that daily Spanish class exposure has led me to a better understanding and appreciation of the Spanish language and that all Language Classes should be scheduled similarly, in the future.

Repetition is the first beneficial aspect of daily classes. Since many students, including myself, are not exposed to Spanish at home, daily classes provide a small sliver of that ideal. Additionally, having the opportunity to ask questions every day has played a key role in increasing my competence. Typically, if I had a question the day before class, I had to write it down, or else it would be lost in my sleep. With classes every day, while there is still the potential for this to happen, it provides students much more feedback and a tutor-like experience. 

Another benefit of daily classes is that confidence is given a large boost. Perhaps related to the constant feedback, I felt as though I was being affirmed in my speaking ability amongst the other students. Additionally, after a week or so of constant classes, I felt very confident – even outside of class – to speak, as the practice I was getting was consistent and not sporadic.

The final benefit that this year provided was forcing me and other students to stay ahead and pace ourselves. Personally, I always tried to get homework done the day it was assigned. Other students often say they do work the day it is due. With daily classes, we are all forced to do some work every day. While this can seem overwhelming at first, it quickly melts into something manageable.

As with anything, nothing is perfect and it would be too much to expect the pandemic to provide an opportunity as perfect as I have made it sound. The main issue with daily classes is the workload. Especially in the first month, teachers were slow to adjust the workload to accommodate the fact we only have a day to do the work, not two. Luckily, my teachers have all since adjusted and have created a great pace within each class. This was especially helpful in Spanish class, as too much work would discourage students like me from doing any of it. Additionally, the longevity of daily classes is a question that has yet to be addressed. As of writing this, I am about a month and a half from finishing the semester before the class ends abruptly. It’s very possible that daily Spanish classes over a whole two semesters would cause great burnout, rather than more success. A simple remedy is to decrease class time daily.

In conclusion, I believe, through personal experience, that daily language classes should be a staple of high school education, in the future. There are plenty of logistical issues, but the biggest – clearly – is scheduling. I have no fully fleshed-out idea for this, but I do implore that the benefits of daily language classes outweigh any of the hassles of changing the schedule. We know that our district can handle such a task if they need to, especially a prepared one, after their handling of the pandemic.