Our weekdays continue to be jam-packed with school, lesson planning, teaching, projects, and evaluations. The TEFL course is definitely intensive, most nights we just relax in various stages of vegetation, do whatever assignments must be completed for the next day (a self-evaluation if we just taught, a rough lesson plan for the next afternoon, etc.), and either read our books or watch a bit of TV. Right now we’re indulging ourselves with The Amazing Race, Chuck, Project Runway, and Weeds, plus we just discovered Outsourced which is chock-full of relate-able experiences from our travels in India.
Our project for this past week was to assess a language learner and then design and implement a sample lesson for them, while our current one is to analyze five pieces of language for teaching purposes (meaning/use, context, pronunciation features, concept checking questions, grammar form, learner problems, etc.). We’re definitely expected to be thorough in detail and to use ample jargon and resources. The assignments aren’t inherently difficult, just time-consuming and technical.
We also each taught two classes this week, which meant employing all of the methodology we’ve been learning about, incorporating communicative activities into a varied class, while also teaching creatively and avoiding repetition or boring subject matter. Ideal activities are not always teacher-led, but rather the students are encouraged to think creatively by activating all of their available lexical knowledge. We’ve talked about plenty of grammar and vocabulary, teaching techniques and lexical fields, contrastive stress and segmental phonology, but still have plenty more to go since our course is only half-done!
This weekend has mostly been spent relaxing (which of course included doing some laundry), but we did finally make it lucha libre (Mexican-style) wrestling on Friday night. It was held at a local arena, maybe a 15-minute walk from our house, and was completely entertaining.
There were plenty of fantastic high-flying moves, ample drama, and on repeat occasions whole rows of the audience had to quickly move out of the way of a wrestler being tossed into the seats. Most of the wrestlers were also great actors, involving the audience in chants or arguments, and often would sit in the seats if they were tired, help themselves to someone’s snacks, or other such antics.
There were six matches (50 peso entry fee, about $4), with the head-lining match being a three-man-per-team tag match. Most wrestlers wore the traditional lucha masks of anonymity, had great costumes, and names such as “Rostro Maligno,” “Los Dragones De Oriente” (a fan favorite), “El Blanco” (jokes were made about the fact that his opponent also wore white), “Low Raider” (who invoked the wrath of most fans by chanting U*S*A), and “Serpiente Azteca.” There were several hundred fans there, so there was lots of cheering amidst the slaps, body-slams, pile-drivers, and ridiculously technical spinning flip-throws. We’re not huge wrestling fans by any means, but we obviously had a great time!
Yesterday we ended up teaching a few classes at United English, the school with which our TEFL Training Center program is affiliated with, but these were actually on our own for money with real students – quite the nice change from constantly being observed, critiqued, and graded. Plus it was nice to work, albeit for only 2 hours each on a Saturday morning.
After teaching we walked back through the historic Los Arcos, a 18th-century aqueduct that runs through the center of Queretaro. It is also home to some pretty awesome modern art:
Since we’ve become Queretaro FC fans (just buy a jersey and go to one game…), we went to a local bar to watch the game, since it wasn’t at home. It was quite the battle, back and forth throughout, the Queretaro goalkeeper managed to save a penalty-kick and the other team ended the game with 10 men – however we still lost 2-3. Hopefully next week, which we’re planning on going to the stadium again to see, will finally result in a victory!
Today’s been mostly homework, after we made great use of our only morning to sleep in, plus the aforementioned laundry, and we just went out for some tasty chorizo burritos for dinner. Only have three hours of class tomorrow (from 10:30 – 1:30), so for once we actually have an easy day ahead of us. Good thing, since after examining the technical aspects of language awareness of different words and phrases for two hours we probably need some Carcassone in our near future…
Anderson’s been adding some more functionality to our website, there are now tabs for articles he’s written as well as music he’s made at the top, more content and pizazz should be added sometime soon.
Trying to pass with distinction,
Here’s your gratuitous food porn of the week: