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One Week Down Teaching English in Loja

I have officially completed one full week teaching English at in Loja, Ecuador.  It's been interesting, and I can't say I'm thrilled at this point.  The way things are done here is so different than at home, it's hard to go with the flow.

I was offered the job by the school's "international recruiter" which was interesting.  There was really no interview, just a conversation about Loja.  I was told I started Monday so I started thinking of a lesson to introduce myself and have students introduce themselves.  My questions about who and when I would be teaching remained unanswered until Monday at 3:00 when I was supposed to meet with one of the managers.  She was out that day.  So I was eventually filled in, told that I'd be teaching teens.  If anyone knows me, this was my biggest nightmare scenario.

So I started Tuesday night, from 3-6, one hour each to 3 Teen classes at the same level which is supposed to be Early Intermediate since they've been there 2.5 years.  I wasn't given a whiteboard pen or paper but I was given course books.  I am in one room one hour, then pick up all my stuff and move to a second room for 2 hours.

A student gave me a whiteboard pen and we did icebreaker activities and that went OK but we ended early and I had to come up with things to fill in the time.  Hangman worked out OK.

Tuesday night, I was informed that I'd be teaching Conversation classes each night from 6-7.  It would be to a different class every time and my first two classes were Level 1 which means beginners.  Nobody knew what to do other than talk.  I was told to just ask them what they wanted to talk about so I wasn't worried.  What I hadn't expected was that they don't know enough English to have a conversation.  So I write down questions on the board (like what is your name), try to elicit answers, give the answers and have them practice together.

I must say, I'm not loving it.  I am met with blank stares, giggles, and students will start up a conversation with one another while I'm trying to act out and illustrate directions.  The second room is very stuffy, with no windows and if you open the door you hear the echoes of the little kids on the bottom floor.  It's too loud to hear anyone.  I don't know how the kids can hear my voice at all, let alone try to listen in English.

Anyhoo, so I got out of my hotel on Thursday and was able to move in with two other teachers.  I have my room but this is what it looked like:

The mattress is foam, and it is caved in from use.  My butt was on the floor when I sleep so my back was in a weird position all night.  On Friday, my roommate's boyfriend who is Ecuadorian, took me to the cheaper mattress shops and picked up a bed frame for me.  $200 later, I had a bed and I bought a desk.

Then there was the issue of blankets.  That thin top blanket was all I had the first night.  I stole one off the couch when I woke up freezing.  It's not THAT cold here at night, around 53 -- enough to need a couple of blankets.  So the next day I bought the leopard beauty you see here for $10.  I later bought another one because these two still weren't enough unless I doubled them over.

Here are pix of the rest of the place

It's cute enough, squeaky floors and low ceilings but it's really fine and comfortable.  It was nice to go to the fruit/vegie market on Sunday and buy 2 bags of stuff for about $3 and be able to come home and have a quick meal here rather than go out every night.  I keep lunches for going out since you can have an almuerzo del dia for about $2.50 which includes a bowl of soup, meat, rice, desert and juice.

Since I've been here, the school took out all new native speakers to a restaurant which gave us a pork chop, a chicken breast, and 2 thin steaks, along with that stuff that goes into pozole (can't remember -- like giant corn kernels).  Then they have an exchange speaking night each Thursday at rotating bars in the city.  On Sunday we had a BBQ at Valerie's house.  The person bringing the BBQ forgot to show up until later and even then forgot the BBQ so we cooked our chicken on the stove.  Here is my crew:

Roommate Gina (spelled way differently)

Gina, George, Ed, and Beth

Me too in this one!

This is the crazy building where Valerie's apartment is.  It's a hostel but there are 2 long term apartments on the rooftop.
That's about it for now...


  1. Your hair looks great Radel! I was a little worried after your description of the processing. Lol. What a ride you are on...a stepping stone to your next position. Stay healthy girlfriend!

    1. I love all the details amd all the bright colors too. The wall in your bedroom reminded me of my kitchen when I painted it peachy pink. Happy early birthday tomorrow. I will think about you first think so if your ears are burning you will now why. Xoxo

    2. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I'm glad you guys went onto the blog. So many people just see the FB link and "Like" it without reading the blog! Yes, my hair is mellowing out. Tonight is a cross cultural thing where people get together to practice speaking or just have some drinks. So that's what I'm doing.

  2. Happy birthday, Radel! Enjoy the adventure we call life :-)

    1. Thanks Kathleen, It is weird being away from home, isn't it? I'm missing Halloween and all the stuff in SF right now. I think I've hit the 2 month thing where you want to throw in the towel. Sounds like you guys are doing great!


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