Thursday, March 17, 2011

First week of teaching in Ambato

So on Wednesday of last week we had a meeting to say goodbye to the old director at Tecnica and find out our schedules. We all went to the meeting and heard about how they had problems assigning students and how we would probably have more issues. I expect problems, I didn't expect what happened the next week. They told me my schedule was going to be 2 level 3 classes at 2:30 and 5.

  • Thursday: I get to the campus about 1 hour early to find my classroom and see if I needed to do anything. Except at 1:30 it's the lunch hour and there is no one to ask. Slowly people started to trickle in around 2pm. I start to ask around where my classrooms are. One lady tells me to just look at all the classrooms until I find my name. So then I scour the entire school (it's big) in search of my name. It's nowhere. Then I ask someone else and she told me the handyman would go find me a classroom. Turns out they never really assigned classrooms and then forgot about teachers when they were putting names on the doors. He then takes me to a classroom and tells all the students in there to get out and their class has been moved. He tells me he will send all my students here. But, since they never told me where my classroom was, they never told my students. So most of them ended up going to the other building. I had 7 who actually showed. Then for my next class they changed my classroom and only 5 showed.
  • Friday: We had another meeting at noon to meet the new director. She is really cool and I feel bad for her that she came into such a mess (the old director was asked to leave and so he left everything a mess). So she told us that she was working on the problems. In typical Ecua-fashion the meeting ran long (because of all the insanely long greetings and unimportant information). It went until 1:30 and the new director didn't want to take away our lunch so she canceled the 2:30 classes. I went home, pretty cool. I came back at 4:30 for my 5pm class and she told me I had no classroom again and I could just go home. I was glad she was honest with me but getting a little annoyed.
  • Monday: I showed up and went to the director's office and she asked me if I could change schedules. Since I hadn't really met my students yet I said yes. Now I'm teaching a level 8 class (almost fluent) and a level 3 class (pre-intermediate). She also said I still didn't have a classroom but she was going to call the students and tell them to come to the library. I ended up waiting for 1.25 hours for the first class to show because they all went to the wrong building. Then the second class showed up 30 minutes late. But I decided the library was a horrible place to have class. People kept coming in, music was playing, it was tiny. It was so bad for establishing classroom management procedures that I sent them home early.
  • Tuesday I had an actual classroom but they told me it wasn't going to stay my classroom. So my students were all late again because they didn't know where to go. But for the most part, it was a pretty solid first day.
  • Wednesday: I finally had my own classroom with my own students. The advanced kids are really cool because I feel like I can teach and talk to them about more than just grammar and basic stuff. Like we did a discussion comparing the earthquakes and tsunamis in the past few years. Why they are worse for some countries and such. My level 3 students wanted to be stupid and act up. I shut that down really fast. They probably thought I was mean for making them all stand up, go outside, and re-enter the classroom the right way several times, but I'm not one for kids acting out. Everything runs more smoothly once classroom management is established. And once they know they shouldn't talk when I talk, we can all have some fun. (I promise, I really am a fun teacher. I just don't mess around with classroom management).
  • Thursday: Another real day. Today we did more discussing about natural disasters and humanitarian work. They are really shy about talking so hopefully I can get them to get over it. The pre-intermediates were cute. I'm excited about my students and think I'll really like them!
I've decided I hate teaching from a book. For my pre-intermediates I have a book I have to teach them from. It's terrible. It wants me to teach "adverbial clauses" and "relative pronouns as subjects and objects." My students don't even know the difference between a subject and an object! So everything the book tells me to teach them, I have to teach them so many other things as well. Because the test comes straight from the book I have to model everything after the book. So even if they don't understand it because the book is dumb, they still have to regurgitate it. And the activities the book has are super dumb! So I think I'll be creating a lot of my own stuff again. I hate boring classes just as much as the students do. We'll see how it goes but I'm definitely not having fun using a book.

This weekend I went to a town called Salinas. It is a very small town in the mountains that was struggling financially about 100 years ago. So they decided to start businesses and ended up becoming really successful. The town is now a little hub for cheese and chocolate production. You can take tours of the businesses and then sample the products. Yummy day!

I found out I can kinda watch March Madness on my computer. The internet cuts out a lot but it's better than nothing. Go OSU!!!

I've also started thinking about staying in Ecuador another year. What do you guys think?

Happy St. Patrick's day everyone!


  1. I think you should post more blogs! :)

    Also, that's good that you're getting all the kids to listen from the start. You're a good teacher!

    Also, burn the book. It'll be fun!

  2. Eres una maestra magnifica. Calma y seria. Y interesante. Translation in case my spanish sucks: You are a magnificent teacher. Calm and serious. And interesting.

  3. gracias a ti! what do you think about me staying in ecuador another year?