I taught my first regular class this morning at 9 AM. My stomach was a little upset from all the food over the weekend, plus I was nervous. I gave myself plenty of time to get there. I wanted to be at the school by 8:30 because they hadn't given me any materials yet. They swore the curriculum would be ready in the morning. I left the house at 7:15, unsure of what the morning traffic would be like. I got anxious waiting for my bus to San Jose and got on the wrong one! Luckily, it got me close enough, though I was a little disoriented. There are a few key landmarks in San Jose that I use to find my way around. I didn't recognize anything when I got off the bus. But I got lucky. After walking a couple of blocks, I came across a busstop for Heredia. There are three busses to Heredia. I'd never taken this one, but it got me to the right place at the right time. Whew!
Of course, when I got to the school, they still didn't have the course materials ready. I was given a few printouts, but the students wouldn't have anything. I had to wing it. Teaching involves a lot of improv, I'm finding. So, an activity that was supposed to take one hour - doing introductions, getting to know one another - was drawn out to about an hour and 45 minutes. I think that was pretty good, especially considering that only 4 out of 6 of my students showed up. With 15 minutes left, I grabbed the academic director for help, hoping the books had been printed and we could pass them out. Nope! So we played a game for the last minutes of class and finally it was over.
This class is the lowest level that the academy teaches, but the students still have a pretty good grasp of English. They can carry on a conversation with limited vocabulary, they're just shy, afraid to make mistakes. So a big part of my job is going to be to make them feel comfortable and get them talking. It's kind of like being a talk-show host. It just doesn't pay as well.
Labels: costa rica, teaching