Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A couple of giveaways

 There are a few neat giveaways that I thought I would list today. Hopefully I will have time in a few to sit down and make a real post. Enjoy these:
Wildflowers-$35 gift certificate to The Vintage Pearl
Wildflowers: 100th Post & A Giveaway!!

Six in one Hand... Madness in the Other- $50 VISA gift card

If you like quirky for your house-

Saturday, October 24, 2009

English Classes

  • My daughter bought me (with my money) a new, cheap camera that should be here this weekend. I am so happy. I feel naked without my camera. My old cheap-but-loved one was lost on the bus home from Veracruz in February, along with the picture of a tree in a bikini. I won't say much 'cause it really pissed me off. Suffice it to say- if you find something and it has a name, address & phone number and you keep it, you are a thief. Anyway, soon I will be taking more pictures to put on here.
English Classes-

I have two English students. One I see thrice weekly for an hour, Uriel, and one I see twice weekly for an hour and a half, Rubí. They are cousins and almost everyone in the whole family is a teacher. It was a little hard at first, I was nervous that I wouldn't live up to the family standards, and I don't like teaching. Now I am fine doing it, but I have no desire what-so-ever to teach more.

I have read several posts from other bloggers that also teach or have tried to teach English. I have the same problems most of them have mentioned. Students don't show up or show up really late. I put an end to that rather simply. I charge for my time, not yours. If you aren't on time- too bad. Class is from a set time until a set time. When you come isn't important, it ends when it ends, regardless.And I tell them that. I am really flexible on the time. We can change it, but it is only that specific time. If you don't let me know that you are not coming and I wait for you, you pay. If you can't come, fine, but if you don't call first, you still pay. I was scared to do it at first, but I got tired of spending a lot of time running around, getting ready, and then no one came. Rubi just about drove me nuts. She wouldn't come and then she would ask for a class two hours or two days later. With the boy, the first class was fine, the second he was a no show. He decided to go to a community Sept 16 celebration. I didn't get to go because I was waiting on him. I told him, "This one is free. The next time you don't tell me that you aren't coming, you still have to pay." He hasn't missed another since.

I have had lots of people want to set me up teaching a class. They say things like, "We can do it at my house and we'll pay you $10 (.75us) each child." Notice they don't say how much they will charge each child. And I am thinking, "I'll have to have about 20 students to make anything." ARRRRGGGGG! I have set a price now and we are all happy with it. I charge $50(about $4us)/hr or $130 ($10us)/weekly for 3 hours. The people who think it is too expensive don't bother me because they don't really want to do it, usually. It is a lot of work for me, and them. To learn English you have to have ganas (desire), I can't give English to you.

But... I had the boy this morning and he is driving me crazy. He is a sweet kid, 15 years old and tall and skinny. He doesn't talk. He doesn't bring his dictionary, or his notebook, or his homework, or if he has them, he hasn't done his work. We have been meeting 3 times a week since Sept. 14 and we are still doing the exact same thing that we did the first day. Admittedly, he has gotten a little better. After two weeks on the pronouns, he did an internet quiz and got 2/10 right. The other day he got 4/10.

Last week when he couldn't find any of the words he needed in our class I asked him to put all his vocabulary words on a single list in his notebook. The next class I asked to see his vocabulary list and he started pulling out all the loose papers again. Why didn't he have the single list? "well, it's, well, my notebook is at my house, and well, I was at my aunt's, and well..." For three days?

Monday I told him that I was going to give him a quiz Friday on the vocabulary I have given him. I told him I would type it all up and email it to him. Then I sent him home because he didn't have anything with him and I am tired of busting my butt when he can't even bring back what we are working on. Weds., I asked if he had gotten the list. "No, no ha llegado. (it hasn't arrived.)" "Why didn't you email me and let me know?" "Well, mumble mumble..." "Ok, well, let's see what's wrong. Sign on to your email, here!, now! on my computer...ummmmhhh...well, looky there, looks like it arrived now. Copy it! (by hand)"

Today we did his quiz (which was to light a fire under his butt) and I was pleasantly surprised. He got 22 right, 2 half-right and only 19 wrong or blank. Not great, but I thought I would be lucky if he got 3-4 right. I was so surprised I told him he could leave with no homework, which means Monday will be a waste of time, because he won't know what we are doing and I won't have anything to correct with him. (But he won't have anything to forget at home either. So maybe it will be about the same as usual.)

Tonight I taught the girl. I have been teaching her for about 4 months. While school was out we moved ahead pretty quickly, but now her parents are using me more as a tutor. It bugged me at first, but it is easier just helping her with her homework and studying for tests than actually working up lessons and testing her (for the parents.) And her dad brought us both little chocolate bars when he got home tonight, so I am happy.

I don't know how they learn anything in their English classes in school. Their books are poorly organized and in English. This is true for Mexico and Oaxaca states. There is nothing in Spanish, no instructions, explanations, nothing. They don't learn the alphabet, pronunciation, numbers, colors, days, months, vocabulary. They don't use dictionaries. Rubi's parents finally bought her one at my insistence and Uriel is using one of his father's from 35 years ago (this time I told the parents before our first class) but only with me.

This year my two students have teachers who speak at least a little English. Many of the teachers speak no English. How does that work? Books are only English; teachers speak only Spanish? Last year Rubi's teacher spoke no English. If their homework had words in English, it was marked correct. He had no idea if it was correct, and believe me it usually wasn't even close. This year Uriel has a teacher that comes to one class a week even though the class is twice weekly. And Rubi's puts on makeup and does her hair when she is there. I think it is the same woman. She gets fixed up at Rubi's school to go partying when she is suppose to be in Uriel's school. Neither have substitutes, if she isn't there the students just leave. These are private "prepatorias" (High Schools). In the States, the parents would be having fits, here it is just normal.