Thanksgiving Day

The other day in Spanish class, a student asked my how to say Thanksgiving Day in Spanish. I immediately said, “El Día de Acción de Gracias.”

Another student asked me if Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in Mexico or anywhere else in Latin America. I explained that Thanksgiving Day is an American Holiday. He then wanted to know why there was a Spanish name for Thanksgiving Day.

The main reason is that there are 41 million Spanish Speakers in the United States. Most of us are thankful to be in United States, therefore we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, or el Día de Acción de Gracias in Spanish.

The USA is a mixture of many cultures. And this is one further example.


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I’m back in school now and my teaching skills are rusty. I must get back into practice. Sometimes the class doesn’t want to pay attention to me for some unknown reason. If they merely not paid attention and didn’t talk, I would be okay with that. However, sometimes they continue talking when I’m trying to talk. This occasionally happens to the best of teachers. Yes, even me! But I know how to regain control of the class.

I have many tricks in my repertoire to silence the class. Sometimes I say, “¡Atención!” and that’s enough to quiet the class. Sometimes, I have to raise my voice and say, “¡Silencio!” Surprisingly, sometimes the class continues talking. So, I threaten to write the names of the students talking on the blackboard. My sons told me that some grade school teachers use this threat effectively. I wasn’t sure whether or not it would work at the university level, but I did try it once and the entire class immediately stopped talking. I was like totally amazed. If that doesn’t work, I yell, “¡Cállate!”

However, I’ll tell you my absolute favorite tactic. Raising my voice and saying, “Don’t make me snap my fingers in a z-formation.” I then snap my fingers in a z-formation. (Please note: You must say, “Don’t make me snap my fingers in a z-formation” in English.) Amazingly, the entire class stops talking instantly.

Once in a blue moon, none of the above strategies work. So what do I do? I very quietly say, “Shh.” That has never failed me! Yet.


Burnham Hall, University of Illinois at Chicago

My Spanish class met for the last time this morning. Some students will never study Spanish again, but hopefully, they’ll remember more than just, “Buenos días” and “¿Cómo está usted?” The students take the last exam and they slowly leave the classroom one by one. The classroom is now empty. It’s very quiet for the first time in the semester. I’m all by myself and I already miss my students. They sometimes annoy me during the semester, but then I miss them when they’re gone. Go figure! I’ll just have to wait untill next semester to see my new students.