Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Call Me "Maestro," Please

Chalk gets in your blood.
Today, I did it. I went back to teaching (for a day).

I taught a group of English language learners at a university here in Queretaro. Last week, I stopped in, without an appointment, to meet with the head of the language department at the Queretaro Institute of Technology. It's a fine school, with a modern campus near downtown. Mr. Soto was gracious enough to take the time to meet with me. I offered to do a conversation class for free, or to tutor students. Today he took me up on my offer. I taught a 6th level English class, which is quite advanced. It was purely conversation, but I worked grammar and syntax into the discussion when it came up.

Usually, these conversations work best if the instructor plans a theme. Mine was: personality. What does "personality" mean? Does everyone have one? Can they be changed? Does birth order (oldest, middle child, youngest) affect personality? How are men's and women's personalities different? Describe your friends' personalities. If you could change one thing about yours, what would it be? Etc.....

It was fun. We got a lot of heated conversation going, with plenty of contributions from the group. The regular teacher and the department head sat in to observe (which is fine with me). I got invited back next Wednesday as guest lecturer for a combined group of 30 senior-level English language students. And I do like that "maestro" thing! (it simply means "teacher")