I woke up this morning at 7am. Fall is slowly turning into winter and my room is quite cold in the mornings. I get dressed and prepare for a full day of classes. I make a fruit smoothie for breakfast from a banana, mango and fresh squeezed orange juice and then I put on my coat and head out the door to my first class.
I walk six blocks to the subway and take the train three stops. Then I walk another six blocks to a local media group company where my first two classes are.
My first class is with the Corporate Director of Audiovisual Content of said media group. His office is enormous, with three separate TVs playing three different channels all at the same time. He is a very high energy and extremely fluent. On account of it being tax season here in Argentina, we discussed taxes. Here in Argentina, he informed me, the income tax is 35%. Quite high, especially when combined with a 21% sales tax. On top of that there is an 11% social security tax. Quite a significant percentage of a person’s gross income ends up going to the government. We continued our class discussing the social programs that the taxes pay support.
My second class is with the IT & Technology manager of the same company. This particular student only wants practice with conversation in English - which honestly, is a skill he has more than mastered. Usually I just pose a topic, and sit back and enjoy a coffee for an hour and a half while he talks about every subject imaginable. I only interject to correct grammar or pronunciation. Today I asked him how to prepare a traditional argentine asado – or barbeque – on account of I am hosting my very first one this Saturday. He spoke for the entire class, and we didn’t even get past what types of meat to buy.
After my morning classes I go home for lunch and to prepare for my afternoon classes. I only have an hour to myself, and then I’m out in the world again.
My next class is in one of the corporate companies in a downtown riverfront skyscraper. This lesson takes place in the corner office of the 20th floor, where I work with another IT manager. Today we read an article about the new immigration law and discussed the issues surrounding the immigration debate in the United States and in Argentina.
After that class I have an hour to make it to the other side of town. 12 blocks and one subway change later I arrive in Flores, a quieter suburb of Buenos Aires. I arrive a little early to my class, so I get to chat with the institute coordinator for a few minutes. I’ve started to cherish my conversations with native speaks and other expatriates.
This next class is a TOEFL test preparation course with a high school student who is planning on moving to the United States to go to school this fall. He has to pass his TOEFL exam in order to be admitted into school. The test is basically the SAT, and as you can imagine, taking the SAT in your second language would be extremely difficult. Luckily the student is pretty dedicated to studying.
Immediately after the TOEFL class I have a class with my only child student. He is eleven, and in some ways, my best student. Children really do learn more easily than adults. We read from a book and pick out new vocabulary. He likes to draw so we draw picture flash cards of the vocabulary to practice.
Then finally at 6pm I head home. The subway is crowded for rush hour, and dusk is just approaching as I enter my pretty pink house. I wish I could say that my work ended there…but I have to plan my lessons for the next day.