I learned a lot my first year teaching Spanish. The kids would often ask me what words meant that I didn’t know. They would act offended every time I told them that I didn’t know the meaning of a word and to look it up in their Spanish/English dictionary. “But you’re the Spaaaaaaanish teacher,” they would whine. “This is a Spaaaaaanish word. Don’t you speak Spaaaaaanish?” they would challenge me. I got really tired of defending myself.
So the first day of my second year teaching, (after the method from the year before flopped) I came up with a new strategy. I would wait until the class was silent and all eyes were on me and then I would say, “Frangipani. Someone please tell me what frangipani means.”
“Whaaaaat? Can’t any of you tell me what frangipani means?”
“Don’t you kids speak Eeeeeenglish?” I would drawl. “Frangipani is in the Eeeenglish dictionary!” After I had gone on in this manner for a little while, I would explain that just like they do not know every word in the English language, I do not know every word in the Spanish language.
So whenever a student would ask me for the meaning of a word that I didn’t know and begin their incredulous accusations, I would just cock my head, point my finger at them and say, “Frangipani!”