28 December 2010

Banana Time

2010 wrap-up coming soon. For now, you're welcome:

09 December 2010

Berlitz Day 4


New Etsy items! Check 'em out! -->

Today was a long day, but it was pretty good. I went to tutor Ronald, and for some reason my laptop wouldn't get on the internet at the office, so I just asked him opinion questions out of the TOEFL book and let him talk. He did really really well and didn't make very many grammar mistakes! Most of his errors now are with word order, which is so so so so so sososooooo awesome, and I feel great about how he's progressing despite his limited vocabulary.

He asked me some questions about specific stuff that was confusing him, and we had a good talk about a few points of English like when to use "that" vs. "it." Then I asked some questions about a few things in Spanish that were giving me issues, and we had a nice knowledge-exchange. Hooray!

Thennn I got to go to Berlitz and observe the 2nd half of an upper-level English class. Today they were working on how to write business emails. It was very interesting, and I thought the instructor was great.

I took a break in the cafeteria (which has any kind of coffee or tea you can imagine from this amazing machine!) to do my module and prepare my 10-minute demo lesson on present perfect, then headed to training.

We did our demos and had one-on-one feedback with the instructor, and I feel like I did pretty well. She hinted that they need someone to do a total immersion class (4-8 hours a day!) in 2 weeks, and I might be considered for that. HOORAY.

During the rest of the training, we got into some of the more intricate workings of English and how hard they are to teach. I loved it because I love grammar and learning about how to explain it. Tomorrow we have a 30-minute demo to do! I'm nervous!

In other news, Emily AND my sister will be in Austin this weekend. I'm excited! I haven't seen seester since August I don't think.


06 December 2010

Berlitz Training Day 1

was very long. I have training 4:30-9:00 pm every day this week.

One other lady and I were "invited" to training, or at least we were the only two who were invited and decided to come. Haha. We learned/reviewed a bunch of things from the online module we were supposed to do for homework: Berlitz's history, other teaching methods, etc. etc.

The big thing about Berlitz is that the lessons are taught ONLY in the target language with no translation. We learned a bunch of reasons why this is good and some ways to make students understand what you are saying, even if they don't know a single word of the target language. Our instructor taught us a mock French lesson for 30 minutes, and it was really cool to remember how fast you can learn in an immersion situation. It reminded me of being in Spain for the first time. Haha.

Je suis Vanessa. I don't know any French, and by the end of the lesson I could introduce myself and other people, say I am well, thank you, and this is France. France is a country. France is not a city. Paris is a city. Paris is not a country. Hurrah!

Then we did some practice lessons in English and Spanish, which helped us get a better idea of how to teach with the Berlitz Method. It's not so easy! I got the hang of the "tools" we were supposed to be using today, and the instructor told me my pronunciation and pacing was the best. Yay!

The other lady in training with me is nice. She's from Mexico City and likes to tell stories that don't really have much to do with what we're supposed to be learning. Oh well.

More tomorrow!

02 December 2010

ESL Update

Since this was supposed to be my ESL blog, maybe I should update about something ESL-related.

Sooo I got a job teaching at Berlitz here in Austin, which in case you don't know is a big ol' language school in pretty much every major city of the world. Including, you guessed it, Buenos Aires. Hooray! I see a transfer in my future.

Training starts next Monday, and the job is very very part-time, but I'm excited nonetheless. In the meantime, I'm back tutoring, etc. for the Aztex/Orlando City since someone finally realized that they fired the only person who can speak to the Colombian.

So Ronald and I have been studying for the TOEFL about 4 days a week along with running errands as he doesn't have a car - he is a really hard worker and is improving a lot. It feels good to actually be able to see/hear/read his progress and to know that I helped him accomplish that. I'm not sure when he'll actually be ready for the TOEFL, but considering he got here in April, he's doing very well.

Some highlights: Listening to him sing every word to "Bottoms Up" when it comes on the radio is really great. Also, today he asked me what "tryna" means. Like, wrote it out and everything. This kind of makes me sad for the speakers of the English language now that I think about it, but it made me laugh. It must be so hard to learn English. Jeez.

The other day we ate at Casa Colombia, my favorite favorite restaurant in Austin, and he walked in like he owned the place. He also somehow managed to dance while eating. Fantastic.

Anyway, that is fun.

I've been selling some jewelry and things on my Etsy site, which is periplogifts.etsy.com in case you missed it. Buy some jewelry because I am poor!

I was also accepted to the teaching certification program I applied to, and that starts in January. Yay! Moving forward with teaching is making me feel good because I know it's what I'm supposed to be doing with my life.

Boyfriend finally got things straightened out with his school, and he got his tools today after he, his dad, and I spent a lot of time on a three-way call to the immigration office. Turns out his school is crazy and he had already given them everything they needed, but they didn't realize it. Anyway, he has his auto tools and is on the job hunt. Hopefully we will both find something else soon.

In other news...I LOVE THE WEATHER! Thank you, Texas! My plants are still alive. Emmanuel bought me a Nochebuena the other day, and it is beautiful. It looks great on the balcony. Yay!