Friday has come around once again. Thank you God! This week was challenging on so many levels — the coursework, the teaching, the walking, the planning, the meetings and the meet-ups. Phew. The good news? We now have three teaching practices behind us and only seven more to go!
Unfortunately, this weekend is not going to provide a reprieve. On the contrary, it is going to be used for studying, lesson planning for a 5th grade class with a new teaching partner, preparing for my “grammar workshop” and completing our first assignment — to develop 10 communicative activities around 5 different grammar topics.
Trump’s Impact on Our School
There is no easy segue into this topic, so here you have it:
Trump’s fear mongering about Mexico is having a direct impact on our TEFL school’s programs and very existence. Apparently, all but ONE TEFL student originally scheduled for the February program has cancelled because of Trump’s assertion that Mexico is not safe for Americans.
I feel safer here than I do back in the States. The people here want us to enjoy their country and feel welcome. They go out of their way to help us get around, find places to eat and shop, and to experience all of the beautiful places and things in their country.
In fact, I LEFT the U.S. because I no longer feel welcome there.
Trump has created an environment in the U.S. where I, as a woman, no longer feel safe or valued. I can’t imagine what it is like for my friends of color. I am unwilling to go back to being a second-class citizen. I will not sit down and shut up. I will not allow some fat white man with orange hair to tell me what to do, where to go, and with whom to do it. I’ve worked too hard to get where I am, as has every other woman I know.
Lyn and I consciously chose to move to Mexico because we love the people, the country and the culture. We have ALWAYS been welcomed here, wherever we are visiting. In fact, those Mexicans we have met over the years go out of their way to make sure we enjoy ourselves.
Here in Puerto Vallarta, however, I feel as though I have the world by the tail. Everyone I meet is excited that Lyn and I choose to live here and help them and their families be more successful by teaching English in their schools. They are thrilled when we visit their beaches, stores and restaurants, and are even more so when we attempt, however poorly, to speak their language. Almost everyone I tell that we are training to be English teachers asks me to help them with their English. Unlike Americans, they don’t expect us to be fluent in their language.
Our School and Its Programs
The school where we are training (Vallarta International Academy) not only teaches native English speakers like us how to teach English abroad, it also teaches English to the local population, who see speaking English as a stepping stone to a better job and a better life for themselves and their families.
Since the people here make far less than most Americans, the locals are unable to pay as much for the English classes. As a result, the TEFL program at the school subsidizes its ability to offer its English classes. Our tuition is what provides sufficient money to pay teacher salaries, classroom rents, supplies and more. So while we pay $1,500 each for the TEFL course, a local student, regardless of age, pays just $45 (around 900 pesos) for one month of classes.
That means that just a few people cancelling out of the TEFL program has a dramatic impact on the ability of locals to get ahead, for the school to meet its expenses and for the teachers to keep their jobs.
Come to Mexico
Friends, please think for yourselves. Don’t let some racist, sexist narcissist stop you from visiting this beautiful and SAFE country.
Is there crime or violence here? Of course, just as there is in NY, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Boise. Do you let that stop you from traveling around your home town or to cities around the U.S.? Of course not, because you are smart enough not to go to walk down dark streets in bad neighborhoods in the middle of the night, or to talk to suspicious-looking strangers or to get into a stranger’s car. All things you were taught when you were in grade school.
So why are you allowing unfounded rumors spread by the U.S. government to keep you from visiting Mexico? Hmmmmm?