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Published: November 17th 2009
When we were approached on the street in Bangkok & asked to be english teachers, that really got me thinking. I knew at the time that I would not have any idea on how to begin to teach english as a foreign language, but I thought I might look into learning. As it turns out there are lots of schools offering certificates for teaching English. I decided to get my feet wet before diving in, so in Feb. 2008 I enrolled in as online class for teaching ESL (English as a Second Language). That class went pretty good, I finished it in Feb. 2009 & felt I learned some good information. The next step in the process was a surpervised teaching practice with real ESL students. That brought me to Guadalajara.
One option that a lot of people take is to take a month long course for teaching ESL. Given that Patty & I still have jobs that we do not want to give up at this time and I am looking at ESL teaching as a more long range option, the 5 day surpervised teaching practice was better suited for my needs. I could travel to Mexico and take
the class & then have some time to travel and enjoy Mexico some more before returning home. That was the plan anyway...
With all the flu scares in the news, I was a little nervous that the flu could interfere with our travel plans. This was not the case, instead something much sadder threatened our plan...
On October 16th, about 11 hours before I was scheduled to leave, my honored Father-in -Law, Joseph Martella passed away. He had been battling cancer for some time. My first thought was to cancel the trip & the class. Patty encouraged me to go ahead with the class, as we had already made a big (for us) investment. It's a no win situation when something like this happens. I decided to go ahead & go. I am sorry I missed the services for my Father-in-Law. If I had had more time to think about it all, maybe I would have come up with another plan. But there was no time for that. I sadly said good bye to Patty at the Kansas City International Airport on Oct 17 & got on a flight to Houston Tx. and then to Guadalajara, Jalisco, in
I started Spanish class on Monday the 19th of October. I was in Spanish class for 3 days for 4 hours a day. I enjoyed it and learned a fair amount for such a short time. It was a breeze compared to what was to come.
I started the teaching practice at ITTO on Thursday the 22nd of October. I was in school for 5 days (I got Sunday off) for 10 hours a day. I taught for 2 hours each day and the rest of the time was spent on lesson planning, observing classes and other assignments. My biggest gripe was the lack of space for me to work. I would find a desk (in a crowded office) to work at, & get the books and papers I was using spread out & opened to the correct pages, & then someone would come along and ask me to move. This happened several times & made me a little crazy, especially when It would be close to time to be ready for a class.
My other gripe is that as the guy doing the 5 day observed teaching practice (rather than the month long course) I
was the "ugly duckling" of the group. When I got there on the first day, the staff working in the office had no idea what I was doing there. I found the other class, who were about to graduate, to be quite unfriendly (with a couple of exceptions). At least twice, I was sent to observe classes at the school and the teacher whose class I was to be observing would have no idea what I was doing there.
On the other hand, I found some of the teachers I was working with to be wonderful, committed professionals, who were excellent instructors and very helpful. I found the students I was teaching to be interested in learning, and willing to work hard. Overall, I would not say that I have "happy memories" of the time I spent at the ITTO, BUT, I am happy to have completed the course, feel I learned alot, and feel that this was the best way for me to get my ESL certificate.
When I said goodbye to Patty at the KCI airport, the feeling was that she would not be comming to Mexico to meet me when the class was over &
that I would just come home when I finished. By the time I finished my class, she decided she was ready for a break & she would fly down, as we had planned. I was very happy to see her on Tuesday evening, after my last class!
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