September 23, 2009 | Arabic
Another English Class in Bay Ridge
More teaching at the Arab American Association of New York.
Today was my second English class at the Arab American Association of New York. I took the Brooklyn-bound N train, which goes over Manhattan Bridge and offers a spectacular and inspiring view of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty.
There were again four students: three from last time, as well as the only woman (client, I mean) I’ve seen at the association so far without a hijab.
In fact, she was the only one in either of the two English classes being held today, totaling more than 20 students, who was wearing Western attire. I wondered what the other women thought about that. If anything.
The grandmother from the first class was there again today. She remains touchingly concerned that I am learning the wrong type of Arabic. So I got out my Pimsleur and played it for them, and said that for the most part this is free, and that I haven’t found anything else like it that is as useful. I don’t know whether she fully understood me, but she may have given tepid approval to the undertaking.
I asked the students what they had done the previous weekend. Most of them had celebrated Eid, which I think they referred to as “the feast”; this holiday marks the end of Ramadan.
One of the students described a visit to Six Flags Great Adventure with her two children. I asked if she had gone on the roller coasters. She said her son did, but she didn’t.
“Why not?” I asked.
“I am getting too old,” she replied.
I had them read aloud quite a bit today, and frequently corrected their pronunciation. One of the things they read was an ESL dialogue between two men about a lottery winner.
It did not seem to be a big hit, except that the group giggled when I tried to convince a student—the one who went to Six Flags—to express a bit more enthusiasm as she read her lines. The guys in the dialogue were talking about what they’d do if they won a million dollars, after all!
She often seems pretty serious, but she may have cracked a smile as well.