New Job, New Challenges

Hello Señora! I’m so excited about teaching English for the University. I’ve been looking for a job like this since I’ve been here. Thank you, I hope so too. You want me to meet you on Friday to pickup the materials? Of course, I can do that. At 11? Wonderful, see you then…

Hello, I have an appointment with the Director of the Language Department. Yes right now. What do you mean she’s not here? I have to teach a class on Monday, I don’t even know what level the students are! It’s a conversational class? Ok, that’s a start, but I need the text book and I don’t know what room the class is in. Hmmm, well, that’s an interesting suggestion, but I’d rather not just wander around asking people, if that could be at all avoided. You want me to what?! Ask one of them for the book?! You want me to show up for my first day of class, having only the vaguest idea of their level, ask one of the students for the textbook, and make up a 2 hour lesson plan on the spot? Have you ever taught before? I didn’t think so. Look, if you could just give me the Director’s phone number, I’ll come back Monday morning before the class. No, I will not wait until she come back, that’s five hours from now! Can you just give me her number? I’ll come back Monday…

Hello I’m back. La Señora said she’d be here. You have got to be kidding me. Look this is a 1 hour bus ride for me each way, I live in Manglaralto. Yes, Manglaralto, the village where the other campus is, that’s where I’m going to be working. Well why would she tell me to come here at this time if she had another meeting? Ok well, my class is tonight so I’ll wait…

Hola señora. Yes, I guess there was a mix up. Yes, you secretary told me is was a Conversational Spanish class, but that’s a pretty broad term. No more details huh. Okay, okay, well I can get an idea of where they should be at from the textbook. Oh, so you don’t have the textbook. Jorge has it. Well, who’s Jorge? Okay, well where’s Jorge? He’ll be around a little later? What is a little later? Like a little later, or like Ecuadorian a little later? You don’t know. Fine, fine, that’s cool. No I’m not worried at all, not at all. What’s there to worry about?! I just have to teach a brand new class I know nothing about today with nothing to go on, but it’s fine, I guess I’ll figure it out. Oh that’s Jorge? I agree, this is lucky. I’d say I’m pretty lucky. It’s a good thing you have this great system in place. Yeah, the Hope the guy with the materials just happens to wander by the office when the new teacher needs them to teach a class in a few hours system seems to have worked out really well this time. Yup, I’m good now, thanks. And the classroom? You don’t know. Fine I’ll figure it out, it’s the smaller local campus anyways, they’re can’t be too many buildings to wander through…

Hola, chico, sabes donde es la oficina? Gracias. Sí, soy la nueva profesora. Voy a enseñar Inglés. Gracias …

Hello? Is this the main office? Yes, I’m the new English Professor here, they sent me from the main campus in Santa Elena. Yes, it is a lot bigger then this one, but I like this campus better. No, the thatch roofs and bamboo walls don’t bother me at all, I actually like it. No they didn’t give me a curriculum, they just told me to get the students ready for the big exam. Nope I have no idea where the building is. Thanks. Well, I need to make copies of my materials, I came up with this idea for a board game to help them with past participles… No copy machine? At all? At a State University? I had a vague fear that would be the case so I also have everything on this thumb drive. Is there a printer? Well I was told there are about 30 students, so I’ll need a copy for each. You can’t? What do you mean, I see the printer right there. I see. It breaks down if you print more than five sheets in a row. Yeah, the humidity. Right, I get it. Okay, well, what do other teachers do? I met one of the students yesterday and he told me no one was going to buy the book because they can’t afford it. I’m making all the materials myself based on the languge focus on the chapters, so I’m going to need a copy machine. Really? Are you sure? Okay, if you say so…

Hello class, my name is April. Yes exactly like the month. Yeah, it is pretty weird, but in the United States it’s a little more common then here. Common. It means normal. ‘Common’ is new word, huh? And this is the Conversational English class right? Umm… Well, chapter one in this book is the Present Perfect Progressive, so, let’s do an experiment. Theoretically you all should be up through the Present Perfect already, at least. While Angelica runs to the cybernet cafe in town to make copies for everyone, – you all gave her five cents, right? – I’m going to write some infinitives on the board. Everyone take a piece paper and write the past simple and the past participle of the verb for me. Thank you. No, this is not a test, I just need an idea of where you guys are actually at. Good, okay could you pass them up. Okay. Wow. Okay. Ummm… When was the last English class you all took? Over a year ago! Right… and the teacher’s English was really bad? And the University knows this? And they put you all in a conversational class? Okay, okay, well guys we have 14 weeks to get you ready for that big exam in Santa Elena so, lets get cracking!

Original published June 17, 2011, on tumblr as “Un Nuevo Trabajo”.

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