I had a really neat thing happen today in school. Canadians have a lot of things to offer, as I discovered walking home last night after dinnner. A young Mexican carpenter stopped me and my friend to say that he recognized my accent as being from Canada, and that he thought we were a great country of people. wow, I thought. Really? Yes, really.

Teaching English as a second language in Mexico is a challenging career. Yesterday was pretty hellish for all of us, but we came back to it today determined to do better.

Last night, my curriculum guide suggested I teach all grammar. The second day? You’re kiddiing, I thought. I mean, I like grammar, but I don’t know anyone else who does.Well, ok. I prepared two two-hour lessons of pure misery for my students. *sigh*

In my grade five class (the first one, at 8AM), I immediately announced we’d do grammar. They groaned a bit, so I explained that grammar is important. One of my students is named Pepe, and he excels at tennis. He is entirely bored with school because he thinks he doesn’t need it. Yesterday, I introduced myself as a writer. A teacher, who also writes. I told them that you should have lots of skills, in case one job ends for whatever reason. They were intrigued that I’m writing a book on bicycles.

Today I asked if they knew the name Lance Armstrong. “Yes, from Tour de France!” “Yes,” I said. I told them. “One of Lance’s domestiques is Michael Barry, one of my interviewees. He’s also a writer,” I explained. ” An athlete who understands grammar.” (I have one of his books and have visited his blog. He really does understand grammar. (http://michaelbarry.ca/)

My students all looked a little impressed at that news, and then they knuckled down. Two whole hours of grammar! And then, I went into the grade four class and did it again. That class also ate it up. I taught outside the lines a little, which made the experience more fun for both them and me. It was awesome! A class on grammar that lasted two hours, and at the end, I had to tell them how impressed I was with their attentiveness, their enthusiasm and their facility with the language.

I’m so lucky to have met and interviewed both Michael Barry and his father, Mike Barry. Canada Rocks.

oh, by the way, the kids asked me to sing the Canadian anthem for them today. I did, proudly. Good on us! Go, Canada.

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