We Begin to Teach English

So, by boat on Sunday, January 30,  amid the lake’s rough afternoon waves, Susan Webber and I arrived in Santa Cruz laden with teaching materials, our clothes soaked. We were very happy. At 8:00 am Monday, we met Jeanne Mendez and her class of ten culinary students at CECAP.

Jeremias, Servando, Loida, Juan Carlos, Pedro, Rebeca, Julia, Jeanne, Tomasa, Juana, Julia
Jeremias, Servando, Loida, Juan Carlos, Pedro, Rebeca, Julia, Jeanne, Tomasa, Juana, Julia

The students are learning at the moment to wait tables–in English. They have opened the Café Sabor Cruzania on the top floor of the CECAP building where the view is most fabulous. They welcome guests in English or Spanish orKek’chikel, depending.

Juan Carlos about to wait on his first customers in the café
Juan Carlos about to wait on his first customers in the café
And with varying degrees of success ask, “How may I help you,” as they offer licuados (a lovelier word than “smoothie”) in pineapple, strawberry, mango, and banana, with yogurt, milk or water—a lot of vocabulary to learn in just a few days—and coffee: do you want milk and sugar with that?

Jeanne asked Trish Vogel and me to give her a hand with the class and  today we spent a lot of time answering the question, “Where is the bathroom?” –something we had forgotten to teach before the café opened–which led us into consideration of the differences between there and here and where.  And by the end, we could all see why it’s important to keep them straight.

The culinary program began a couple of weeks ago and runs for 10 months. I’ve already spoken with two restaurateurs here in Santa Cruz who are anxious to hire some of the graduates. It’s my guess that with good teamwork and support from us in the bleachers, CECAP, teachers and students have hit a home run with this program.

Jeanne with culinary class
Jeanne with culinary class
The immediate reward of course, besides the great fun we’re having with ten bright, motivated students, is going to the café after our class. If you plan to visit, I can recommend the licuado with mango, banana and yogurt. And the fresh pineapple upside-down cake is–well, you’ll really have to try it.

Speaking of which—if you are TESOL-trained and can lead a class, or if you have the gift of teaching and want to tutor individual learners, I hope you’ll consider giving part of yourself to the people of Santa Cruz la Laguna. We need teachers who can come in for ten weeks to a year (or more!–it’s a fascinating, beautiful place to live), to work within the English program. Then you can have all the licuados you can drink. Would you like chocolate with that?

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