Saturday, November 6, 2010

Danish.... NOT the breakfast food

I have always thought of myself as a smart person. Well, apart from that MATH thing...
I love to read. I love to play word games in my spare time. I love to learn new things and I really love to go to new places that can teach me something. 

I am not talking about High IQ Rocket Science Smart. Rather I was the kid in the Honors classes who refused to do her work because it all seemed pointless. 
Anyway, all that to say, I have a brain, I know how to use it, and I like to use it as often as possible.

I  have worked in the same field (public education) for a long time; in fact, this is my 18th year. Plus I am just 3 chapters of a dissertation away from having a PhD in Education, specifically in teaching and learning.

Therein lies my problem. 

Are you confused yet? Are you thinking, "WHERE IN THE HECK  LIES YOUR PROBLEM?" I had to give all that background info about being a smart girl and a pretty darned experienced person in my field to lead up to this statement.....

Not dumb like when I look at a math problem (which I try to avoid at all costs), but dumb like the girl at the back at the classroom that teachers pat on the head and smile, as they say, "Oh honey, don't you worry about doing all the problems. Just do your best" which translates to "no need to waste the lead in your pencil because there is not a snowball's chance in H that you will get any of those answers right."
Now do you get the picture?

And I blame my dumbness on one thing.... Danish. No, not the breakfast food. And no, not the people. 
 I am talking about the native language of this man that I just happen to be in love with and that just happens to be the native language of the people in the country where I live.

I can go to the doctor and communicate in Danish just fine. 
I can go to the bakery and communicate in Danish just fine.
I can spend the day with my non-English speaking in-laws and communicate in Danish just fine.
And even on days that Mads and I declare "all Danish days", I can communicate in Danish just fine.

I feel like that dumb know, teacher, back of class, head pat...
Yeah, her.

I enjoy speaking Danish to the doctor, the baker, Mads and my in-laws because it does not matter if it is correct....but at work, at a place where I am supposed to be at the top of my game, talking about things that I KNOW inside and out..... yeah, not happening. I just cannot do it. 

I cannot get my brain and my mouth to work together because my brain freezes up because it knows that the word order (And sometimes the word choice) it is sending to my very SOUTHERN SOUNDING mouth is WRONG. 

It is not as if my colleagues expect it to be perfect. These are pressures I impose on myself because I KNOW MY JOB and I KNOW about GOOD TEACHING and to not be able to dialogue about those things at the level that I want to be able to is impeding my communication altogether. 

As the International Coordinator for our school I am going to have to start communicating with parents PÅ DANSK in the very near future and I gotta scares the heck out of me. Again, I want to be able to articulate things to them in the same way that I would if I were speaking in English. And I am so far from that becoming a reality....   

So if there were a DUNCE HAT available in Herning, Denmark right now, I am quite certain it would be on my head.


Angel said...

I know I know! I have this feeling every day. I simply can NOT speak about science in Danish. Not happening! Everything else? Gravy.

Anonymous said...

It's tough at first. But the more you do it, the more fluent you become - so don't worry! (From someone who knows...)

Nina Ø said...

According to the 3 Law of Performance you have done an excellent job of defining the current situation. Now to move to the next step in the journey, the language needs to change from I can't to something reasonable and achievable with an exciting vision attached to it.How about instead of "I am going to have to start communication" to "I am excited about communication to parents clearly in Danish by the end of this school year. You get the drift because you are smart and capable. Not going to let you find the DUNCE cap. I hid it. ;-) PS. Communciation is the key. Most communication in non-verbal anyway.