Saturday, March 5, 2016

Schools Out. Thank You ELI.

March 5th has brought the end of the semester for ELI and with that my time with the private language school has come to an end. I started with ELI in November of 2015. They have been supportive in my lesson planning and have enhanced my skills as an ESL teacher. The Director of the school, fellow Canadian John Spiro, has given me experienced tips and direction for teaching at ELI and any future classes I will find myself in front of. His greatest advice. " Be friendly but remember they are not your friends. You are their teacher and they expect you to be their teacher." No truer words have been spoken.

Lets me be honest.  I am a bit of a goofball (or so I have been told), prepared for my classes plus knowing what did not work for me when I was a student has made teaching seem to come easy to me, almost natural. HOWEVER let me also be very clear. Being a good teacher is freaking hard and will always be a constant evolution.

There are good days, bad days, lesson plans that do not work, lesson plans that are gold, students who a hungry, tired and chatty while others are inquisitive and alert. This being Nicaragua there are technology issues, spiders, geckos, wind, rain and oppressive heat in our open air class rooms. There are also lots of smiles, questions, concentration and hard work. A trick for participation that worked for me was students teaching me Spanish while I taught them English. That really drove the bus.

I did receive wonderful good bye and good luck letters from many students. I find that if you treat them as people and not kids that also goes a long way. They have many thoughts, ideas and stories that they want to share. They are interesting your your life and well as telling you about let them. The lesson plan will always be there. You just need to listen and with that you get a more involved student. It is about them and not you.

Next stop on this journey, the Help! Heslington Language Program in Tehuacan Mexico. Arrival is expected on May 4th, training beings on May 5th and first class begins on May 9th. The course runs 4 months until August 13th and I will be working full time (YIKES!). Weekends will be filled with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Central Mexico. Tacos, Tequila and Tecate.

I will take it.

 Level IX Accuracy

Level III Fluency
Level IV Fluency

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