1st ESL Class

Relax, take Sominex. Don’t sleep in my class. I take that as an insult.

Teacher Jaime Escalante to his class in Stand and Deliver

img_4704I had built my ESL classes around 2 to 5 minute YouTube film clips (several from movies about Mexicans in the U.S.) that were, in theory, to launch discussion and then move the class on to topics like verb tenses and other grammar, pronunciation, and things that might be of use when speaking English. I tossed that concept when I discovered the classrooms lacked internet reception, although the cafe and the courtyard both have reception. Not only was the video clip online, but so were all the materials for the class – the grammar points, the translations, the exercises, the …. everything. Todo.

No signs were posted to indicate which class was taking place in which room, so everyone who wandered in late had to ask which class was taking place in the room. Because there were no signs, it made no difference that at the last moment my class was moved from one room to another, to one that had tables and chairs in storage stacked high, so we moved things around a bit.  The whiteboard was set on two chairs, and its top was a little less than my shoulder height, so I had to scrunch down a tad to write a few things, but at least someone was kind enough to bring two markers and an eraser for the board.

Prior to the class I had no roster of students, although I had heard a rumor that two people had signed up. During the class a few people seemed to drift in and out, so we seemed to be a group of six or seven or eight or nine depending on the time. No one wanted to take a break during the 2-hour session so we went straight through, so I had the feeling that the students were getting something from it. The group proved to be a mix of young (20s) and old (retirees); some knew almost nothing and struggled slightly with “I-me-mine” to others being fairly skilled and capable of conversing competently. I taught using both English and my version of Spanglish.

After class I sent an email to the students that linked to the online material that I had intended to use as a base for the class, and when I checked this morning, several people had looked at it.

So from my first “how am I ever going to do this” I’ve progressed to a smugness, which could be shattered by an empty classroom on Thursday.

News about town ….

This isn’t truly new as some signs have been up for at least the six weeks that I’ve been here, but there are more signs on Aldama street that basically say, “leave the cobblestones in place,” which leads one to think that city officials want to pave the street.

There’s a memorial in front of the Parroquia that I have to investigate.  The signs mention corruption in the government, but I haven’t been paying attention to the news, so I need to ask around.  It’s the largest number of candles that I’ve seen in a memorial here.

The house and casita are on the market.  A photographer came today to photograph everything, there have been workmen about painting and such, and it’s likely I’ll have to move sometime in the next few months.

The video clip that wasn’t shown


2 thoughts on “1st ESL Class

  1. This is an excellent training for you Val! Will you bring your laptop to the class’ You can always download the youtube clips, there are free programs that convert them to mp4 files but I´m sure you know that. You can get them to do role plays, give them each a role (Math teacher, student with difficulty, other talented, Head, Mexican student etc) and act scenes of the first day at school. Songs? Images as stimulus always work well.
    Have fun!

  2. Thanks for suggestions – I think first thing I have to do, though, is learn to write more clearly on the whiteboard!

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