Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I’m not an English Teacher but I Play One in Peru

My primary job function here en el Perú is to provide technical support in the matters of water and sanitation but that’s only one of the goals of Peace Corps. The other two goals are to provide Americans with a better understanding of the people of Peru (which is what I hope to accomplish with this blog) and to provide Peruvians with a better understanding of Americans (which is what I hope to accomplish by being here in their country). Having said that, I can only write a dopey blog for so long and the technical aspects of this job are going to take a little bit to get going.

So I’m left with Goal 3 and, well, a lot of time on my hands. In the mean time I’m teaching English which is a pretty huge skill to have if you’re Peruvian. All the foreigners that come to Perú as tourists or to do business, whether they’re from Europe, Asia or wherever, communicate with the locals in English. I suppose English now is kind of like Latin was back in the day before it became completely irrelevant to everyone except pedantic academics and doctors.

Anyway I’ve started teaching English Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the evenings. The class was organized by a guy from the Instituto (a community college essentially) for the kids studying tourism. The class started out with 3 students. I had no idea where they were proficiency-wise so the first class we walked around describing things in English to see where they were at (I know, a dangling preposition but I’m not an English teacher so LAY OFF). They spoke a little but not very well at all.

The second class doubled in size and the third doubled from there. The class last night had about 20 people in it, two of the original tourism students and the rest high school and elementary school kids. I didn’t expect to have a class ranging from a 4 year old who could barely speak Spanish to a 27 year old who can kind of get by with his English. I’d planned a fun class with a body parts game and a family relationships game using The Simpsons but my plans went right down the shitter when 16 kids hadn’t had any English at all. I winged it and came up with another lesson plan on the fly. I don’t feel like it went very well but under the circumstances... I am planning on taking a course on how to teach English that’s being put on by the US Embassy next month so hopefully that will give me a little more direction.

There were also a four junior high age boys sitting in the back of the class f*cking off the whole time. Remind me again why I’m not a parent or a teacher?


  1. Looks to me like you are teaching them the Simpsons familia too...

  2. Well it was nice knowing you. this seems like the kind of thing that would be a final post. Your army is swelling in ranks and soon you will disapear into the backdrop. Kind of like Jim Jones meets Apocalypse Now. Anyway if you happened to get gunned down by a bunch of federalis than it was nice knowing you. If your Army succeeds and you get some territory send for me and I will come down and set up some kind of revolutionary tribunal. It kind of looks like afghanistan there and if they can grow opium there...well I have said too much. Good luck General!!!