Last week we celebrated our new “freedom” by driving to Peña de Bernal. It was an easy drive, although we ran into a bit of traffic near the airport. They are building a new bridge and the road is a mess at the intersection where most of the construction is. Being a Sunday, there wasn’t anyone there directing traffic.
Drivers here take every opportunity to push ahead, regardless of what is going on around them. Trying to get across this intersection was challenging, as it involved four lanes of traffic crossing four lanes of traffic. What a mess.
The problems with this intersection created problems for miles. It took nearly 45 minutes to travel about 3 miles as a result.
We didn’t spend very long in Peña de Bernal. There were a lot of people there that day. I think there may have been some kind of tournament or festival going on. We ended up walking up and down the main road, stopping for lunch, and then heading out again. Even though it was brief, we enjoyed getting out of Querétaro for a little while. Oh, the gorditas were delicious! We had carne adobado gorditas, which were made with a blue corn masa. Wonderful. Didn’t drink any beer since I was driving. Next time.
This week, Lyn and I have spent most of our time preparing for our classes. My time at Globoworld is coming to a close, so for me, it has been a bit sad. I’ve been telling my students about my job change and preparing them for their level evaluations. They get so nervous about these things, but they will do fine.
Some of my students want to take me out this week to celebrate both the completion of their class and my new job. I’m looking forward to it. I really enjoy these guys. They are hardworking and fun. It has been a joy to see them improve their English skills.
Change Is Good
So, what’s next on the agenda. Hmm. Lyn and I are traveling to Mexico City on Friday to go to The Anglo-Mexican Foundation HQ where I will sign my contract. We are going to take the bus to the airport and then Uber to the school. The HR manager asked me to bring 4 photos, which, I assume, will be for ID cards and things. Fortunately, I have lots of photos left over from our immigration process.
I am excited about starting a new job, although I am also nervous. Change is always good, even if it stresses me out for a while. I will need to get familiar with new processes and procedures as well as how to use different materials. The school does have an online platform as well as a text book. That will be different.
The materials we use at Globoworld are a bit dated. Recently, in looking around for other materials to use with my private students, I came across the company that created them. There is a new version, which I was surprised to see, looks remarkably similar. I think what I don’t like about these materials is the use of cartoonish drawings. I feel like the drawings are a bit insulting to the adult students. What was really interesting is how common these drawing are in all of the ESL texts I found.
The one set of materials that was different from the rest was from National Geographic Learning. Their texts use TED talks and the gorgeous photography the magazine is known for. I have to say, though, that I found the information presented a little confusing, but I could get used to it! Remember, change is good.
Turns out that the materials in most of the texts I’ve seen follow the same pattern. They teach English while covering a set of general life skills topics. For example, the first level is covers the basics of meeting new people, describing things and places, getting around (transportation), family relationships, urban and suburban living, etc. In this way, they address the proficiency standards set forth in the CEFR (Common European Framework) for learning a second language while developing the necessary vocabulary and grammar structures.
Lyn is making it his mission to recreate much of the materials with newer images. He spends a lot of time working on his classes. He has taken a keen interest in teaching pronunciation. This is a difficult area. He is really enjoying it though.
Tomorrow we are going to Santa Rosa with our friends Tom and Tiffany. Santa Rosa is a a little town just over the hill from here. They live closer to it than we do and have gone there on many occasions to eat and shop. The town is not known for being friendly to strangers, so it will be interesting to see it with people who are known there.
I have driven through the town many times as it is between our house and several of the companies where I have been teaching.
I am also continuing to make new friends here. Just today I met a couple — Yvonne & Roberto — who work for Proctor & Gamble/Gillette. The lived in Boston for four years and their English is perfect. Naturally, we met because of the dogs. I had Sophie and Izzy out playing and they were also there with their two dogs, Molly and Nina. Molly is a pug and Nina is a French bulldog. The four of them got along famously, as did we humans.
Last week, I was giving a private lesson to someone who lives in El Refugio. We typically sit by the pool where it is a little cooler for our lessons. This past week, we were working on “sometimes/anytime/no time, etc” with our toes in the water when a family joined us. The pool isn’t very big, so of course they could hear everything. One of the children, a girl around 8 years old maybe, started showing off her English for us. After our lesson was gone, the parents asked me if I gave English classes and how much I charged. They also asked me about teaching children, which I am not keen on. The kids here are a bit wild and I don’t have the energy to be their domesticater.
Also, while I am flattered by the interest, scheduling private classes is difficult when my work schedule is so irregular. I will have to see how it goes after I start my new job.
Not a day later, I got a text from the husband of a former student. They also live in Refugio and want me to give them private lessons. We are going to meet next weekend to discuss how we might make that work.
I asked Lyn if he was interested in taking on some private students, but he isn’t. At least for right now. I totally get it. Unfortunately, I feel like I have to take on as much as possible so we have enough money to live. I’m okay with that for now. And I really love my students. I figure if they are willing to take time out of their busy lives to study English and pay out-of-pocket, they are truly motivated and will do what it takes to succeed.
Speaking of money, it will be interesting to have a bigger income. I am curious to see how it will change things. I’m also still working on getting my Circuit City pension. I called the other day and was told that I should be receiving it by the latest October. Dang bureaucracy! Oh well. Better late than never.