Tag Archives: Teaching English

Learning and Teaching Year 5

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The school divided at the end of the school year. I choose to follow one of the owners although the other owner offered me a general position, nothing concrete mind you, just if I would be interested I should come and see her. She was relocating to an area outside of town, which would require quite a stretch of main road driving on my part. After the death of my mother-in-law in a moto accident, I didn’t feel safe enough to drive myself such a distance on open roads, so really didn’t consider the job offer seriously. Besides, she worked all year to discredit my teaching, so I could expect more of the same if I went to work for her.

But then there was a quandary. The other owner was still waiting for the permit from SEP (Secretary of Education) to open the school and come August we had no students to teach, although the permit arrived days before the beginning of the school year. I had attempted to organize a summer school program with English, music, computers and cooking classes, but with the drama of the two owners, parents didn’t want to be seen as supporting one or the other and did not send their children.

So I was out a job for the school year. I had a few other offers from different schools, but there was always something that just didn’t quite fit. One was too far and I wasn’t sure that my now aging moto could go the distance. One was owned by persons that I had worked for before and would not work for again, no matter what the pay. One was only part-time, the cost for travel and time and the amount of pay didn’t make it worth the effort. So this school year, I started out at home with my son in the day and teaching private classes when he went to school in the afternoons.

But again, when people learned that I was available during the day for classes, my days started to fill up. I don’t teach classes every morning, but I do have classes every day except Sunday. Each day’s schedule is different and I have to organize my bag and my thoughts to keep up. I love my calendar planner! I’d be lost without it.

I asked the school owner, who now had a building but no students if I could use the building on Saturdays. She has let me the building rent-free and I have begun trying to recruit other teachers who might want some extra income, to offer classes on Saturdays. It hasn’t been wildly successful, either with the teachers or students, but I haven’t given up yet. Most of the teachers tell me to let them know if there are students and then they will come in. They don’t understand that this is a self-marketing type of position, not a school. Yes, the owner helps with some advertising since we use her logo on our flyers and newspaper ads, but I have to go out and find my students, tell them what I offer and convince them to come to the school on Saturdays when they could be laying about watching TV. Quite a challenge I assure you.

I also have branched out and added piano to my list of courses. I don’t have a formal degree in music, however, I studied piano more than 10 years, so feel confident enough to teach the basics.

I have also continued to better the language games I have developed over the years, so much so that I hope this next year to have a set of games that I can offer to teachers and schools and earn a bit on the side.

I also tried to organize a Christmas Activity program for students over the 3-week break, but again, it was not to be. Parents didn’t want to take the time to bring their kids or pay the $50 pesos per day or just didn’t hear about it as we had very limited budget for marketing. Students didn’t want to be bothered and preferred the boob tube to whatever we might have to offer. Half of the teachers were of the attitude that I should let them know when there was a group and did very little to try and get students. It’s hard to fight cultural apathy even with my enthusiasm for teaching. But I keep on plugging in the hopes of something wonderful down the line.

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See Also: Learning and Teaching Year 1, Learning and Teaching Year 2, Learning and Teaching Year 3, Learning and Teaching Year 4, Learning and Teaching Year 5, and Authentic Teaching and Learning and me

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Learning and Teaching Year 4

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The next year I was again approached by several schools, one owner even finding her way out to La Yacata to plead that I work with her school. I finally agreed to work with the sister-in-law of the parents who originally convinced me to start teaching private classes. I was to be the English coordinator and teacher, although I didn’t want to assume the title officially, so didn’t tell the other 2 English teachers that was my job description.

I probably should have, it might have made them work a little to help out, but hindsight is 20/20. So it was me teaching the students their songs for the Christmas program, me designing the end of year presentations, me scheduling the exam dates and making the study guides and gathering the random activities and putting them into books. But I learned quite a bit from these processes. My activities became better the more I did them. I was always assured criticism from the other 2 teachers that I took to be constructive and used to change anything that might need to be improved upon. Necessity forced me to be creative and my abilities expanded to meet demands.

So ended the first year. I told the owner that the second year I wanted  my title to be known, so I started the next school year as the official English coordinator with 3 teachers under me. Things were a bit smoother, however, the owners of the school were having problems with each other, which changed the atmosphere of the school itself. As I was the clear favorite of one of the owners, the other owner and those that supported her, were against pretty much anything I did. But I made it through the year, learning as I went, and that was that.

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See Also: Learning and Teaching Year 1, Learning and Teaching Year 2, Learning and Teaching Year 3, Learning and Teaching Year 4, Learning and Teaching Year 5, and Authentic Teaching and Learning and me

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Learning and Teaching Year 3

teacher 1

But, we needed more income than my classes provided because my husband had difficulty finding work. So the next year, I agreed to be the English teacher in a different school, teaching first graders. Three weeks into the year, the teacher for the 2-3-year-olds in the adjoining kindergarten quit, so I assumed that position as well. This was the beginning of my crazy teaching year.

I didn’t want to stop with my private students and was getting more and more requests all the time for me to teach others, yet it wasn’t regular enough to do full-time. So my schedule became, kindergarten in the mornings, first grade in the afternoons, an hour break, then private classes from 4-7 each night. My husband stepped in to do what I wasn’t able to do in the household department. He washed the clothes, cooked the food, cleaned the house, took care of our growing mini-ranch, took our son to school at 2, picked him up at 6, brought dinner to me on my break between classes, and waited at the door when I got home with a hot chamomile tea.

I was able to maintain this schedule for 5 months with my husband’s support. However, things in the elementary school were getting more and more difficult. Again, not the teaching, but the adults. The English coordinator for the school was a woman from Morelia. Soon I started thinking of her as my evil nemesis. M hated everything I did. I couldn’t understand this as I tried to exactly what she wanted, well, as long as it didn’t conflict with what I needed to do to teach effectively. So she set out to put up obstacles to my teaching. She vetoed copies that I requested, she wouldn’t inform me of school events I needed to prepare the students for in the hopes that my students would not perform well, she lied about me to the owners saying I was not turning in lesson plans and was just plain nasty to me. She said, in front of another teacher even, that I was just ‘cualquier gringa que no contribuya nada a esta escuela‘ and that was it. (That I was just a derogatory word for foreigner or white person, that made no contribution to the school.)

I told the owners what she said, told them that she had been lying about me not doing lesson plans, and told them they needed to find another first-grade teacher. I felt terrible leaving my kids and cried while packing my materials up, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. The kindergarten owner asked me to stay on at her school and since M was not in any way involved there, I agreed.

Well, my free afternoons were soon filled with more private classes and I finished out the school year in good shape financially. We used the money to close in the back porch of the house and add steps to the second-floor laundry room.

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See Also: Learning and Teaching Year 1, Learning and Teaching Year 2, Learning and Teaching Year 3, Learning and Teaching Year 4, Learning and Teaching Year 5, and Authentic Teaching and Learning and me

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Filed under Employment, Teaching