Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de mayo - the ubiquitous post

So, I'm probably one of the few teachers in my specific field (Spanish) who has a secret dislike of the Cinco de Mayo. I'm not racist (really! sorry that was a lame joke), I don't support the new Arizona law (don't get me started, I'll be up on a soapbox in half a second), but the whole Cinco de Mayo thing seems like a lame excuse for a bunch of gringos to drink margaritas, eat lousy nachos and pretend that they are showing a deep appreciation for Mexican culture and history.
What's even more sad, in my view, is that many people think that the Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day, which it is not, of course. That would be the 16 (el dieciséis or el diez y seis, depending on how you want to write it out) of September. The president kicks off the celebrations with the "Grito de Hidalgo" from the Palacio Presidencial in Mexico City (el DF) and it's an on-going party after that.
Taking into account my deep-seeded dislike of the Cinco de Mayo, then, you can imagine my frustration when I was in class yesterday, talking about the plan for the week, and a student raised his/her hand. Ah, question time! Always a welcome thing, a student with a curious mind. So, I give this individual the floor and he/she asks (in Spanish, points there) "What are we going to do for the Cinco de Mayo?". I almost lost my shit.
Okay, not really, but almost really.
First of all, I should back up. I don't teach first-year Spanish where parties (at least at the school where I teach - don't get me started) seem to be de rigueur. If not weekly, then certainly monthly. Of course I understand that there is a strong cultural component when it comes to celebrations, but it's May, AP exams are upon us, I have at least 8 weeks of information that I need to cram into the next 4 weeks, I'm tired and so are the students. AND YOU WANT A PARTY?!!???!!!
To not be a total grinch (or bitch), I took a pragmatic approach and did not bite the student's head off. Rather, I put the onus of a party on them - oh, if you want to bring in some food tomorrow, that's fine, but you'll clean up every last migas (crumb) from the floor.
I am happy to report that they did not bring food to class today, which is a good thing because I've been off all week, and I actually thought that the Cinco de Mayo (in English and/or in Spanish) was tomorrow. Oooops! It might have thrown me for a loop if I walked into an 8:15 class that was ready to sing, dance and devour sugar.
On a different note, I do support the Phoenix Suns' political statement with their jerseys, and it's more than alright for them to be "Los Suns" on the Cinco de Mayo!
Also, we are making chicken enchiladas, beans, rice and brownies to share with friends tomorrow night. It was a random date, and I didn't even think about the Cinco de Mayo correlation until now. So, maybe I doth protest too much?


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you Kristina...Cinco de Mayo is all about college kids indulging in beer and chips. And now that I've indicated how old I am in more ways than one, allow me to share my admiration of the fact you can get your kids ready for an AP Exam when I can't even get my kid to count on her fingers properly. Kudos to you teachers!! You deserve a medal.

Kim said...

I've never been into celebrating Cinco de Mayo because, like Ameena said, it seems like it's all about drunk college kids. My mom's bday is Cinco de Mayo so that gives me something else to associate with the day :) I remember the parties in Spanish class, though I don't think we ever did one party in my AP Spanish class. That was serious business. I really admire teachers, especially in that teenage phase when parties are more important than exams. I hope the rest of the week goes well for you!