Sunday morning – it’s 4 am

I decided to go to sleep at 11 pm last night.  Leslie didn’t.  She stayed up until about 1:30 this morning.  We both got up at 4 am and I headed up to the conference table in the library on the 3rd floor.  A beautiful place in our casa. The ceiling is maybe 20 feet high and a huge floor to ceiling window faces the morning sun.  It’s coming up now.  Leslie is working alone back in our room.  We’re both working on our 4th teaching lesson for Monday (tomorrow…).

Leslie and I also have to start and complete a 1,000 word essay due tomorrow…

I’m hanging on for my dear life!

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CELTA – First week (Hell week)

We’ve now completed our first week.  It was hell.  It was intense.  We were firehosed with information.

It reminded me of my first few weeks in my Navy Officer Candidate School when the express and stated purpose was to try and wash you out of the program.  (I don’t think our tutors are trying to wash us out, but…).

No time! No sleep!  Yet you still have to provide excellent teaching lessons to real students!  But Leslie and I are  still alive..


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CELTA – Day 4 (No sleep!)

Just got “home” (our guest house casa) before 8 pm now and put together a light dinner in the guest kitchen and lounge.  Leslie and I went to bed after 2 am this morning and were back up at 5 am.

In these past 4 days Leslie has taught on 3 separate days and I’ve taught twice to “real” students (I teach tomorrow and Leslie is “off”).  The workload and planning is intense, but we 10 “candidates” are a great bunch.

We have a 1,000 word language analysis paper due Monday (and I teach again Monday) – there goes the weekend at the beach!  Oh wait – I’m in Mexico City now.

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CELTA – day 1. School starts off – intense!

CELTA-syllabusLeslie and I spent all weekend studying our “pre-course” material, which consists of a heavy dose or review of English grammar and teaching methodology.  We experimented with another combination of 3 Metro (subway) lines trying to find a way to escape the crushing crowds of rush hour.  It wasn’t a bad trip at all – until we found out Monday was a national holiday!

There are 8 others in our new teaching class.  As each of us trickled into the lobby/reception area of the school, it was fun introducing ourselves around, finding out where everyone is from, did they just come to Mexico (like us), etc.  Four of us are from California, one from Maine (formerly, now living in Mexico City), one from Ireland and the rest live here.  I really like our group – I think there will be a good dynamic.

From when we all got settled into our new classroom until we finished around 6:30 pm, there was no let-up.  There was no “lunch break” as such.  In essence, we covered what we’d be doing for the next 4 weeks and how and what we needed for teaching tomorrow (today actually!).  We finished our “orientation” as it were around 2:15 and had to be back before 3 to observe our tutors teaching real students.

Around 6:45 (maybe a bit later?) we took the bus home – vice subway – and it wasn’t too crowded; found a Domino’s Pizza a couple blocks from the Casa, then – while waiting for the pizza to cook (to go), started planning for teaching our first class.  We got back to the Casa around 8 pm, had our pizza in the guest lounge/dining area then worked until after 1 am this morning.  Leslie was up working until 2.  I was awake and up at 5:45 this morning – and turned off the alarm clock!

We both teach our first class (a total of 8) this afternoon.  It’s only a 25 minute “baby step” class for most of us, but all the work is in the planning – not the teaching!  So – what took me so long?  Here’s my “TP 1” (pdf)!

It’s 7 am and we’re off to the races for day 2!  We’re going to try the crushing MetroBus this morning…

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Incredible acts of kindness shown us

In the short week and a half we’ve been in Mexico City, we’ve experienced  a number of acts of human kindness that transcend boundaries of race, color, country of origin or any other barrier we might thing of.

A week ago, we wanted to see how “safe” we’d be riding the Metro (subway) because we’d be teaching in the evening.  So around 10 pm we hit the Metro, went to a transfer station to catch another line but were standing there studying our little Metro map when a sharply dressed young man walked up to us and asked if he could help.

Aaron not only explained how the Metro worked (symbols, color codes, etc), he walked us to the correct line (going the correct direction), gave us his Metro card ($),  then spent time with us in a great conversation! We exchanged emails.   Leslie and I knew this was a “God moment” in our journey.

We got back to our Metro station (Revolucion) before 11 pm and found the area buzzing with people, traffic and activity.  We have never felt so safe!

On another day, we’d stopped at a MetroBus station and were gathering our directions when a woman approached us and wanted to know if we were trying to figure out how the ticketing system worked (we already knew) – but her kindness and generosity of spirit deeply touched us.

This has happened to us on a number of occasions and I have been humbled by these gracious and unsolicited acts of kindness and genuine humanity.

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