I Moved To Oaxaca

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Well, that's over.

I just finished my Saturday classes -- my last ones until August. And you know what? Despite all the whining about having to wake up before dawn on a Saturday and be up, up, up for six hours of perky English instruction, I'm gonna miss my students!

Yesterday after my afternoon class I hurriedly did today's lesson plans, then scooted off to Manuel's house for a little English-polishing work: Manuel's wife, Carla, is working with a mezcal exporter that wants to clean up its marketing materials. Manuel took a look at it and decided it needed a professional hand, so he asked me over. We sat down in his lovely grass-covered patio and I took a look while he popped over to the miscellanea for a 940'er to split and some Cheetos for his 6-yr-old daughter, also named Carla. Well. That was some fun English. The brochures weren't too bad, mostly some unobtrusive misspellings and "this sounds translated" klunkiness, though I'm still chuckling over the Reserve mezcal in the collectible, "punking"-shaped bottle. The Pun King, indeed. I'll have to get one for my friend Gus.

The worst was the tag placed around the neck of the bottles. Oh my hell, that was some fractured English. I was often at a loss as to what they were trying to convey. Manuel said they've been using the tag for awhile now, but somebody wrote them a note saying that the company needed to get its act together, so they passed it along to Carla. I'll try to snag one and post it here.

After we finished, Manuel went to pick up Carla from work while little Carla and I did cartwheels on the lawn and played with her naked Barbie. Little Carla's English is about as good as my Spanish, so it's fortunate that the language of play is universal. Then off we all went to get tlayudas. Manuel suggested the stands on Libres -- the best tlayudas in Oaxaca -- but I pointed out that it was still about an hour too early for them to be open, so I suggested El Chepil, my usual place around the corner from my house. It was awfully nice to go out and do something even quasi social, and it was positively giddy to be able to show them a new place in town, and be in the know about going to the miscellanea down the street to buy beers to drink with dinner, but by the time we were all done and Manuel had draped little Carla in the backseat of his car and we all said our goodbyes, it was awfully late.

I was pretty keyed up, so I watched an episode of Xena on my laptop, and finally turned out the lights about 11:30. I was planning on getting up at 6am for class, but Christ on crutches, I woke up at 4am! So my ass was dragging even more than usual this a.m., but I got in and started to prep for my first class. Now, if I may, I'd like to put my cranky pants on for a minute. The support staff at school just can't seem to get it together enough to do more than unlock the door and turn on the lights when they open the school in the morning. They don't turn on the computers in the computer lab, they don't start the coffee or tea, they don't unlock the bodega or at least pull out the cd players we're supposed to use in every stinkin' class ... what is the problem? Nor could they make the copies I'd requested yesterday. It's reception: how hard is it? (and before you get on my case, I've done reception work; it's not challenging)

Okay, pants off. So I'm upstairs, writing out my gapfill exercises, getting Chapter Review Jeopardy ready to go, when I go downstairs to make another pass for a cd player, when Gilberto says something about ... something. I stopped and said, what? and he explained again, in English, but I swear I couldn't understand what the hell he was saying. So I asked him to repeat it again, and this time Andrea, a fellow teacher, joined in. It turns out that they ("they"? they who?) had arranged for the three adult classes to work on a presentation then all three classes would get together and each student would give their presentation in front of everybody. This was news to me. So much for the lesson plan! But it actually went well, and if I were teaching next Saturday I'd already have my lesson plan done since I didn't use it today; ah, well. It was fun, and the class ended half an hour early, so Adam, Andrea, and I scooted off down the street to grab some breakfast before the next set of classes.

We talked about doing more of this kind of activity at the school -- presentations, not last-minute changes -- while waiting for our food, then Adam looked down at his watch. Oops! Almost time to get back. I wolfed my chilaquiles con pollo y pan down with my cafe, then we ran back. Now, teachers have been preparing for weeks for this Kids Fest thing, where all the kids and teens perform in front of the parents. However, I have also been operating under another directive: Finish The Level. So we haven't really done any prep in my class. Gulp. Better get to it. We actually ended up making big "My Favorit Things" flowers, then presenting our favorite things huddled together in a group on the makeshift stage. I literally had my knee in one kid's back and my hand clamped on his shoulder to keep him from fleeing; I didn't make him speak -- just repeat the level! Yeah, I flunked kids. I'm so cruel. Then we handed out the diplomas and I told the parents what I really thought of their kids, the parents asked me questions ... and they requested that I teach their kids the next level in the next school session. Aw!

Now, I could go home and crash ... or I could skip off to the movies to see American Splendor, and of course I'm going to the movies. I pulled my movie reviews out of the sidebar 'cause I got tired of it, but if you haven't seen Mean Girls yet I found it pretty darn funny, so color me surprised because not only is it a teen movie but an SNL movie too. Guess their drought's over.


Post a Comment

<< Home