Despite originally being given 'the worst class in the school' (to quote one teacher), my overall feelings on teaching were that while challenging, I was actually helping people improve their lives. It was like suddenly turning into Jamie Oliver at a cooking convention. We were the most popular people in the school for a time, even 'teaching the teachers' in a weekly session. The best job satisfaction!
And yes, my original class weren't exactly a joy to teach. They were riotous 10-year-olds who'd much rather run in the playground than have another hour at school. But the lessons sometimes brought unexpected fun like trying to explain the meanings of computer-related titles when I was asked, such as 'Medal of Honour' and 'Power-Point'. Although I had to feign innocence when one of the boys piped up, "what does Vice City mean?"!
For a more challenging teaching experience, I swapped the little terrors for a class of older students who had a lesser grasp of English. In fact, it may have been a godsend that I was actually sent to help them as their normal English teacher was stuggling with the language herself. She later admitted to me that she hadn't actually used her English in about 20 years which was why she was a bit rusty. In this class, we got down to some proper work even with simple things such as distinguishing the meaning and pronounciation between words (such as 'yes', 'chess' and 'cheese' on one occasion).
But it didn't stop there. We also helped in a language exchange most of the week and had that mad weekend where we managed to work day and night to make them that website *another plug*. All in all, we were busier than at home! We just wanted to get stuck in and help as much as possible in the time we had.
Our final day was marked with a promise of a trip to the local karoke bar. We had been a bit concerned about the prospect of singing (in español) but the teachers seemed so keen we didn't want to disapoint. As they led us down the street, I was trying to find out if they had any songs in English and didn't even notice that they were taking us in the wrong direction and into our favourite steak restaurant... It was such a brilliant evening. We were lost for words that this elabrorate ruse was to thank us for all our hard work. We were presented with so many gifts - flowers, matching fleeces, cards, that we almost decided we didn't want to leave afterall. Even now, we often chat about our time there and plot when we can go back...
Where are we? Just arrived in Cusco - the home of Machu Picchu (very exciting). We'll probably be staying about two weeks which is about enough time to visit the many Inca ruins plus enjoy the big winter solstice festival of Inti Raymi on June 24.