Here in Spain, or at least where I am, they call private lessons clases particulares. So most of the people who come here to do the English teaching thing give clases particulares on the side to supplement their income. Back before I got here, I figured I'd probably try and do this too. Then I arrived and was such an emotional mess, all I wanted to do was stay home and watch Parks & Rec on my laptop. It was probably some culture shock mixed in with being wholly frustrated with dealing with my situation. So I had no desire to put myself out there and look for students for clases particulares. Honestly, I had little desire to even go to the school. I had to allow myself extra time to walk there in the morning cause I was walking so slow cause I just didn't want to go. My second day at the school, one of the teachers asked me if I would give English classes to her kid and her kid's classmate. Reluctantly I said yes because really, how could I say no? The same day, the principal asked me if I would be able to give classes to her brother. He just wants conversation, she said. I said, Sure! No problem! but inside I was grumbling to myself, DON'T YOU KNOW I WANT TO STAY HOME AND WATCH FRINGE?!?!
So the one class with the kids is not bad. I still kinda dread going but in a 'I just don't feel like going to work' way. The kids are 6th graders and awesome, sweet kids. With them it's more like extra tutoring. I just reinforce what they're learning at school and expound on it a bit. And help them with their homework and studying. And make them speak only in English. The only annoying part is all the English textbooks here are in British English. It's funny to look at words and know what they mean but know that you would never say them that way. In the unit on clothing some of the words were trainers (sneakers), waistcoat (vest), jumper (sweater), trousers (pants), cloak (cape), track suit bottoms (sweatpants).
The other class is with the principal's brother. I wasn't really sure how to do a conversation class. All I knew was that he was a doctor which meant that I immediately imagined him as a young George Clooney wearing scrubs. Imagine my surprise when we meet and turns out he's an older (than me) gentleman and most definitely not wearing scrubs, although he is a surgeon. His English is already really good. He spent a year in Boston at Harvard some 20 years ago and travels to medical conferences around Europe where the common language used is English. In my head I'm thinking, are you sure you really want to pay to talk to me? Well, he's super nice. I try to make a note of things I observe during the week and then ask him about them when we meet. I'm not a very natural conversationalist so I have to put a lot of effort into preparing for this class but I think I get just as much out of it as he does. When I left his office this past Friday I felt, dare I say it, happy. And not just happy but cheerful and inspired. Inspired enough to come home and write this post. Almost inspired enough to go to a café/bar but let's not get crazy now. Baby steps.