An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Tag: students (page 2 of 2)

The Long Haul, International Holidays

We’re into the long haul, now. No breaks, as far as I know, up until my contract finishes on July 11th. There are about 80 players in camp, tuning up for the start of the intense Dominican Summer League, which begins, I think, near the end of May or the beginning of June. The two Yankee teams will play against the other teams in the area, similar to what they did in October-November last year, only this time the games are much more meaningful, with a trophy awarded to the team winning the championship game. The Yanks have taken the top prize the last two years.

Juan Dolio was quite crowded during Semana Santa, as I expected, especially at the hotel. I spent a couple of days walking farther down the beach, where it was a bit quieter (but not by much). Here’s a pretty cool shot I got of some of the players on the beach. There was a camouflaged (army?) helicopter flying very low along the beach, taking videos. It could have been a TV crew. We were lucky enough to be in a good position to capture the shot below.

Top row from left, Julio Rojas and Pedro Marcano, bottom row from left, Andres Varilla and Ronny Calderon. All of them are from Venezuela.


Here’s a shot of the rambunctious bus ride on the way to Juan Dolio. If you don’t think that all the young ladies walking along the highway got an earful, think again.


I’m going into the capital today to buy some textbooks and supplies for my classes. I’m once again teaching 3 hours a day to various levels, in addition to teaching 3 hours a week to the staff. Add in the lesson planning and I have a fairly full schedule. One big delight is that Abel brought back a projector from Tampa, so now I can include Powerpoint presentations, Internet sites, web language games, etc., in my teacher’s toolbox. Should be fun.

Still, I’m counting down the days until I can return to Thailand and Laos, sometime in late July, hopefully. Right now they are celebrating the Songkran Festival, the traditional Thai (and Laos) New Year. Check this website for a sedate, cultural view of the holiday, but check this one for a more realistic (in my opinion) look at the event. It can be great fun, but sometimes the water dousing gets a bit out of hand, especially when administered by rowdy, drunken foreigners (farang). (Not to single out one group, so I suppose there are also more than a few rowdy, drunken Thais who may go overboard.) At any rate, I’d love to be there this time of year to help Nai and his family celebrate. More later.

Beach time, Fog

Not much going on here recently. I found out that we have about a week off beginning Feb. 24th and running through March 4th. The Dominican players will go back to their homes here and the foreign players are flying back to theirs. On Mar. 3 they report to the spring training camp in Tampa Bay. Then, new players will be reporting here on March 4th. They’ll stay until the end of March, when we’ll get another week off. Then, the regular Dominican Summer League begins, running through the end of August. Whew. Confusing? A bit.

Rex at the embassy wants me to go with him to Samana, in the northern peninsula of the country, to talk with the mayor’s office there about setting up an English program to help with tourism. Samana is famous for the humpback whales that congregate there at this time of year, so we’ll take in some whale-watching while we’re there on Mar. 1st and 2nd. In the meantime, during that week, the Yanks are putting up a few of us who are staying at one of the resort hotels just down the road from the campus. I have the option of staying here for the week, but there wouldn’t be anyone else around and I’d have to go into Boca Chica each day to get something to eat. Heck, who wouldn’t jump at the option to stay at a resort? Quality beach time, coming up.

There’s some pretty dense fog here today, making fly balls hit to the outfield very difficult, if not impossible, to see. The sun is trying to burn the stuff off, but now, at 8:30 a.m., it’s still very thick. The players haven’t gone onto the fields for practice, yet, so it seems that they’ll be getting a late start today. Later, I’m going into Santo Domingo to pick up some supplies for the classes. Some of the Venezuelan players are going also, so I may share a taxi with them. More later.

BIG Television

I went up to the big conference room/player rec room yesterday to begin my classes. A few players were watching TV (if they’re not in the particular class that day, I have to ask them to leave), but next to the 21″ television, on the floor, is this very large (50+”?) High-Def television. Wow! It’s not new and I was told it’s been in the shop for repairs. I suppose I might be watching a few more movies with the players at night! Hopefully, I’ll get the old 21″ set, since I don’t have one in my room yet. I’m also hoping the internet in my room will be hooked up some time next week. Aniuska has to check with Abel, who has returned to the campus. Unfortunately, the projector he bought is back-ordered until the first part of March.

The English Language Fellow program coordinators at Georgetown have asked any of us who keep blogs if we’d care to share with everyone else. I might do so, and if I do, I’ll be adding quite a bit more academic information about what I’m doing here, since that is what they want to focus on. However, I’m sure there are quite a few folks who would be interested in everyday news about working here at the Yankee campus.

I’m hoping to get a good turnout for a new beginner’s class on Monday. This one will be geared to those who don’t speak any English, including the tryout players who are in camp until the end of the month, coaches and members of the staff (cleaning ladies, for example). Since it’s Saturday, I’ll have a good excuse to run into Boca Chica for a while to make copies of the lessons for next week for all the classes. Oh, and I might soak up a little sun on the beach while I’m at it. 😎

Here’s a photo of the position players (outfielders, infielders and catchers) in class posing for the camera (along with Yours Truly–I think you shouldn’t have too much trouble picking me out). I’ll have to get one of the players to help me with some of the names, since I don’t remember all of them. I can remember them in class, when I have my list in front of me. I’ll post them below the picture when I get them all. I haven’t taken a photo of the pitchers, yet. I’ll try to get one soon. More later.


Back Row, Left to Right: Ron, Kelvin Castro, Melky Mesa, Jimmy Paredes, Zoilo Almonte (somewhat below the others), Wangel Baez, Geraldo Rodriguez, Andreas Dionicio, Elvis Rodriguez, Josue Calzado
Seated, Left to Right: Julian Herrera, Alexis Arosemena, Alex Ramirez, Carlos Hernandez

This ‘n That

Yes, I’m happily back at the Yankee campus near Boca Chica. Classes start Monday, though the players have been working out all week. I emailed Abel, who’s in the States right now, about getting a projector to use for Powerpoint presentations and other applications to integrate multimedia activities into the classes, and he wrote back that he found a very good deal on an entry-level Epson S4 projector, so that’s great news.

There are 46 players here now, and 33 of them will report to spring training in Tampa Bay on March 1st. The other 13 go there near the first of April. Meanwhile, new players will be coming in on those dates, including some of the 20 or so who are here now trying out for a contract. So, it’s going to be a challenging couple of months, in so far as designing the classes to accommodate for all the comings and goings and the different language levels. After April 1st, though, things should settle down.

The intense Dominican Summer League (DSL) begins in June, though there will be training games against the other teams before then. The DSL finishes near the end of August, something that I’ll miss, since my contract is up on July 15th. In communicating with Eran, my supervisor in D.C., it appears that next summer, if the project is renewed (as it appears likely to be), I may be able to stay on into August. Excellent!

If the current weather pattern holds, I’ll not be taking any sunset/sunrise photos. We’ve had clear skies at those times, nothing to give texture to the events. The sun just plops down in the evening, very quickly; the colors are rather bland. The same can be said about sunrise. More later.

Along the Malecon

I took a looooooong walk along the Malecon today (aka George Washington Avenue). This is the main road along the Caribbean in Santo Domingo, lined with high rise hotels and apartments on one side and the sparkling ocean on the other. On Sundays, the avenue is closed to traffic and it’s supposed to be a very festive atmosphere. However, I was early for the party, getting there about 12:30, and vendors were just beginning to set up food and beer stands, portable skateboard parks, and other activities facilities. I saw several people dressed up in clown costumes, but I have no idea what that is about–just part of the scene, I guess. Next Sunday I’ll arrive a bit later in the afternoon to see what the hype is all about. It’s a beautiful area, though, with the ocean crashing against the jetty along the road. I walked for about an estimated 6 miles and I’m pretty bushed right now.

I discovered that my apartment is not too far from a very large park, Mirador Del Sur, a good area for jogging and other recreational activities. I’ll have to get up early in the morning to avoid the heat if I’m going to do any running. Once I get settled into the Yankee camp, I expect that I’ll have a great place to jog and exercise. I’m hoping they’ll have a weight room that I can use.

Since last night was Saturday, I kind of expected the apartment building would be noisy: it was. One gal started walking around outside my apartment about 2:30 in the morning, screaming into her cell phone at someone. The person above me got home about the same time and started moving chairs around, scraping them across the bare floor, a sound akin to fingernails scraping across a blackboard–very hairraising and not conducive to sleep. I think this person followed me from Morocco!

A note to all of my friends who have emailed me lately or left comments on this blog–I’ll start getting back to you as soon as I move into the Yankee campus on Oct. 10, when I’ll get my own fast internet connection. The connections here in S.D. are pretty sketchy and can be frustrating at times. Former Moroccan students–be patient and I’ll explain why I’m in the Dominican Republic and not in Korea, like you expected me to be. More later.

CPR Student Photos

Here are the photos I took today of my students at the CPR–our final regular class together. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Students, click here to view the photos. Click on the small photo to see a larger one, then click on the larger one to see another, larger photo.

Here’s another photo from my Sunday morning bike ride.


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