July 27, 2012 by portenalex
A lot can happen in one week. When I posted my last post I was more than a little stressed by all the things I needed/wanted to accomplish, e.g. find housing, get a job, do well on the CELTA course, get a cell phone number. All these things and more have been checked off my to-do list since then though.
Since my last post was about housing, I’ll start there. The second apartment/house I visited turned out much better than the first. It is one of the old houses that’s been divided into apartments and mine is on the second floor. I’ll be living with three girls, all students. Two are from Germany and the third is from Argentina. My new neighborhood is Almagro, which if I can believe this article, is a very “authentic” place to live and should have lots to offer, plus be closer to the city center than where I’m currently at. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to my current home as I’ve really enjoyed the people I’ve lived with, but my new job has me working near here (Belgrano) on Tuesdays, so hopefully I can pop-in and say hi.
Oh yes, I start work on Monday! A great big WOOT and AHHH! Thankfully only one class to ease me into things on Monday, but Tuesday I have four classes and Thursday I’ll be substituting for another teacher and covering four classes. I’ve been more than a little amazed at how quickly I got the job. I applied rather half-heartedly to some Craigslist ads at the end of my second week here and the institute where I’ll be working was the only one to contact me back the next week. Thankfully the interview was not focused on English grammar (which I had feared) but rather on how I planned on teaching (Thanks CELTA for preparing me so well!). These past two weeks were winter vacations for schools and hence businesses as well, which is why next week is the start of a new semester, though it seems like rather odd timing for people in the US, you’ve got tor remember seasons and so school semesters are reversed here. So I’ll begin teaching at the start of the semester, which I’m happy about. I’m very excited to get started next week, but also more than a little nervous, because I’ll be teaching Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced classes…so far I’ve only taught Intermediate levels with CELTA. Also, half of my classes are one-on-one, which is another thing I’ve yet to do more than talk about theoretically. Right now the excitement is mostly winning out over the nervousness…in my next post I’ll let you know how it all goes.
As for CELTA, the focus of my life for the past month, tomorrow is the official last day. However, it feels as though it is already over since I taught my last and longest lesson (1hour) today. It went well. I was very excited because we had to create the lesson from original material that we could chose. Before coming here I’d been going through a bit of a Raymond Chandler phase, so I decided to introduce my students to the wonderfully caustic and tough character of Philip Marlowe PI, in an excerpt from The Big Sleep. They liked it and even better my teachers liked the lesson. It was a great way to end such an intensive and exhausting course. I truly feel like I’ve learned more than I ever thought and while again I’m nervous to start next week, it is new job jitters and not due to a “what the hell am I doing?” feeling.
In addition to all these more grand scheme events, I managed to break away from my last CELTA assignment this weekend and visit La Boca. It was probably one of the most tourist places I’ve been to in a long time…just imagine lots and lots of junk souvenir shops, all full of the exact same postcards and t-shirts. BUT, I am still glad I went because, the main attraction in La Boca is the festively painted houses, local artwork on display (it was/is an artists’ colony) and live tango shows in the streets. Plus I didn’t get robbed, which was great because it is located near some very poor areas and stories of theft abound, I made the mistake of reading this one. As a result I was careful about making sure me and my friend stayed in the tourist area and kept my purse under my coat. Better safe than sorry was the motto. Like I said though, I still had a good time despite a slight feeling of paranoia every time I took out my camera. I loved some of the pictures I got there and I got see live tango for the first time, but I don’t think I’ll be headed back anytime soon.