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Monday, November 20, 2006

A day in the life:

So here’s my situation. I live in Heredia at my friend’s grandfather’s house and I teach at a University across town. I have 4 classes spread throughout the week. Right now, I teach night classes Monday – Thursday and a Saturday class as well. My school is on “bimesters” so every 7 weeks the schedules and classes change. Classes meet for 3 hours, twice a week or a nice 6 hour hunk on Saturdays. We basically have to cover an 8-page unit every week. My students range from your classic university students to middle-aged people with fulltime jobs and families to the thirteen-year-old prodigy’s who are already at the highest level of university English. This is what I did last Thursday.

I woke up at 6am and staggered for a cup of coffee at my friend’s house next door. By this time in the morning the whole house is up, with one brother already at work, another on his way and my friend at the gym. I ate a piece of bread and had coffee before I went back to my house using three keys to get through two locked front doors and two locked gates. Here I showered and dressed and was out the door by 6:50. I walked 10 minutes to the bus stop in front of the massive grocery store and waited with a growing crowd to take the red bus across town. By 7:05 I was speeding through Heredia in a packed bus. I arrived at my school by 7:20 and went to get keys to open up my classroom.

My 7:30am class is a midlevel group and mostly all university students who look like they will be there taking other classes after mine. The class has about 12 students and is about half men and half women. That day we covered tag questions and discussed food and cooking. Class starts at 7:30, but we never have quorum until 7:40. Also I give them a 25 minute break around 9am, but without fail some people straggle in 45 minutes later. We do discussions, cover some grammar, do some listening, I cover the homework and answer questions. I am a new teacher so I basically just follow the book exercise by exercise. It may be boring, but it is easier on me. I usually let them out by 10:20 and head back to the street to wait for the red bus.

At about 10:40 I hopped off the bus near the football stadium and went to the gym. I pay 10.000 colones a month ($20) for the gym and it has pretty good facilities, all the weights, a lot of machines and some cardio bikes and treadmills. I am no gym rat, so it serves my purposes. After an hour I left the gym and walked the rest of the way back to my house. Once home, I showered again and went next door to my friend’s house to eat lunch and use the internet. His mom, a retired biology teacher, makes all our food and even does our laundry. I think I had rice and beans, oh wait, I definitely had rice and beans and probably some kind of meat or picadillo. I watched some TV and played with the dogs in the back yard. Then I went upstairs to use the internet and check on the Bruce’s fabulous blog (heh heh) and read the NYTimes and my emails. By around 2pm I went back next door to my house to practice my guitar and do some reading.

At 5pm I got ready to work again. I gathered my stuff into a backpack, turned on my CD player and headed back to the bus stop. Recently it has rained without fail at this time of the day, so I brought my umbrella. My 6pm class is the highest level and has more of a mix of students. Almost all work, many at call-centers or places like Intel or Wallmart. We covered some idiomatic expressions and the construction of the passive. With this group I do less teaching and just try to provide opportunities to practice talking. With this class we had agreed to skip the break and just leave early, so by 8:30 I was back outside. By then, the rain had stopped and it was essentially my Friday night. I returned home to change out of my work clothes and see if anyone was going out. Most of the people I know have to work on Fridays, but my friend’s brother was free, so we went out to the Boulevar, and drank Imperiales until 1am. I came home, ate some soda crackers and called it a day.