We’ve had sunny, dry weather lately, so the fields are no longer drenched, and I’m able to do my 5-times weekly jog around the four warning tracks, rather than the access road. I’m now punishing myself for more than an hour each session. :O My goal is to lose somewhere around 30 pounds before I leave the D.R. next July. So far, I’ve lost about 5. Of course, with all the calorie reducing running, I have to be moderate in my weekend excursions into Boca Chica. Too much Burger King food and other goodies pretty much negate all the hard work.
Classes are going ok, more or less. Since this is the short session, only 6 weeks, it’s difficult to sustain a logically progressive syllabus, so I’ve been “picking and choosing” what to teach. I’m trying to include as much culture (American) in the lessons as I can, stuff like tipping in restaurants and elsewhere, ordering food in restaurants, baseball history, and other cultural trappings. My lessons DO flow one into the next, but I’m not always sure of the connection of one to another–a lot of it is “seat of the pants” effort. When the long term begins again in February, I’ll start working from a more deliberate curriculum.
The kids (students, ballplayers), are, for the most part, ok. Like everything else, it seems, there is good and bad. A friend once told me that during your life, 80% of the people you meet will be neutral in their opinion of you, 10% will like you and 10% will dislike you. That seems to hold true about my students’ opinions of having to attend English class.
The large majority of them view the class as something they have to do, something they have to live with. They put in as much effort as I ask them to and no more, and they’re not too keen about going beyond what they receive in class–no extra studying or usage outside of the classroom.
A small minority, though, are firmly encamped on one of the other two sides.
There are those who’d rather drink poison than come to classes. This group might be physically present, but their minds are elsewhere and they refuse to participate. Either that or they are very disruptive, talking to others of like nature in Spanish about who knows what during class, resisting my best efforts at getting them to settle down and join in. There are times when I have to ask them to leave the room. At best they’re merely taking up space and at worst they are very disrespectful.
However, the other minority group more than makes up for them. These guys are the ones who sit up front, take notes, ask questions and generally motivate me to try to increase their numbers from the fence-straddlers. Outside of class, many of them ask me what can they do to increase their English skills. It’s very gratifying to work with this type of student.
Such is language teaching–it has its good and bad points. Overall, though, it is stimulating and satisfying, and, especially, working in and with other countries and cultures has been far beyond my expectations and dreams.
In a few short weeks I’ll be moving back into La Capital to work in much more academically-oriented environs. Meanwhile, earlier rumors had it that Brian Cashman and Felix Lopez would be visiting the camp tomorrow. Will they? I don’t know, but I’ll let you know when I know more later.