Bogota · Colombia · South America · Teaching English · Travel

I begin to teach

Today I had arranged to meet Sgt. Rodriguez at Canton Norte (the military academy) to observe English class there in preparation for teaching on Wednesday. I was going to be working at that location on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at the Rehabilitation Center, CRI on Tuesday and Thursday. This is because with the Ministry of Education, there has to be a co-teacher on the CRI base three days a week and this is Sgt. Rodriguez. I will be switching places with him those days to work at Canton Norte while he is at CRI. It is kind of a weird set-up, but …. I am tranquila!

I am to be working alongside a civilian English teacher by teaching half of the students those three days and she will be teaching all the students Tuesday and Thursday while I am at CRI. Weird that I just wouldn’t be only at Canton Norte. But, who am I to argue with the military?! Today I am going to observe her and see how the class works and meet the class.

The teacher’s name is Angela and she is very standoffish. She was teaching the English class in Spanish and didn’t even introduce me to the class. Before she dismissed the class for the day, I tried to get her to introduce me, but she said they knew who I was because she had already explained the situation to them.  We left the class together.  I was hoping to talk to her about the procedure and what exactly the structure would be like.  This didn’t happen as she was in a hurry to leave for the day.  She said goodbye and took off.

The soldiers here are doing an intensive language course – called the American Language Course – for full days Monday – Friday. They have quizzes Tuesday – Friday and an exam over the book on Friday. They are to complete a book a week and be able to absorb the material and pass the weekly exams to stay in the course. They are studying from 6:30am – 2:00pm. We give them instruction from 7am to 12pm and they study and listen to English on their own the other times.

This method of instruction goes against everything I have read and studied and the American Military doesn’t use this curriculum any more, but we are to follow it and try to help the students to pass.  If they don’t pass the weekly exams they are to pay back the cost of the book and they are out of the course.

I gave Angela my information before she took off, so that she could contact me regarding the lessons, the book and the class roster so that I can be prepared to come and teach on Wednesday. She didn’t act like she was interested in helping me with the information. It will be nice if she does so that I am prepared to teach ½ the class = about 12 students – on Wednesday. I’d like to know what I’m teaching!


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