Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hello, First Day!

Today I went upstairs when I should have gone downstairs. I finally found my classroom at the English school, but there seemed to be a teacher already at the front of the room. Insert panic attack. It turned out she was the lady from the unemployment agency who makes the students fill out a million forms for fifteen minutes before I can really even say hello to them. So that was an awkward quarter of an hour. I tried to smile and make eye contact with some people. It was weird to be the oldest in a room full of adults, one of whom had a gray beard. Out of the 13 students I was supposed to have -- I lost two and gained one, which is super Italian. There is not one obnoxious person in the group. I love them all so far. One guy named Mario is downright adorable. He is from Naples and he translates whatever I say into Italian for the guy sitting next to him and anyone else who wants to hear his fairly correct version of events. It's as though I'm the soccer player and he is the sports announcer. It's like I have a pronoun within striking distance of the goal at all times, if you know what I mean.

There are two sisters who I knew pretty early in the game were ringers and who are in a beginners' class, even though they are really intermediate students. One  prim little lady who didn't really open her mouth the whole class except when I forced her to, got a 19 out of 20 on the assessment test, but I didn't know that until I got home.

Out of six men in the class, four of them have names that start with the letter M and two of them are named Marco. That was rough. Poor Stefania doesn't know a word of English and is also not going to be there tomorrow, meaning that she will be behind four hours of lessons. I am choosing not to think about that, grazie.

 I have an alarm on my phone that plays a disco tune whenever we are supposed to get a coffee break. One of the Marcos got me an Italian coffee during the coffee break. Normale? he made sure to ask me before he went out to the caffe. Normale! I confirmed, knowing that I would gain coolness points with the class if I downed the little mini dentist's cup full of espresso without any sugar when he brought it back for me. Unfortunately, I forgot that I haven't had that level of caffeine in years. After a while I noticed a slilght tremor of my writing hand and an unprecedented level of enthusiasm for someone who has been teaching English for nearly four straight hours.

My favorite lesson of all is teaching the Present Simple. The Present Simple lesson is when I get to use pictures of superman, superwoman, and their super robot dog named "It" to teach why we add an "s" to verbs in the third person singular. That kills, I tell you. I got great laughs when I explained about how verbs like kiss that end in ss are spelled differently and made a few conjectures about superman and superwoman's sex life. When she's not in the mood, she kisses him. When she has a headache, he kisses her. But when it's on, they both kiss. I mean that was some entertainment that I provided what with the acting out and doing all the impressions. They should pay me extra for that.

At the end of the class I really got a phone call. It was from F. I can only put three alarms on my phone so he has to call me at the end to tell me to come home. I answered the phone, "OK amore, ci siamo allora." And then I explained to the class that my husband said it was time for all of us to go home. One guy thought that was so funny that he almost fell off his chair.

This is much easier than teaching fitness, although I'm not sure it is doing very much to tone my inner thighs.

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