I've been a profesora for a few weeks now and it's starting to get a bit less weird, but I still routinely ask myself, "Who let me be a professor? How did this happen?" Especially when I realize I have the power to cancel classes with just one email or when I get lost trying to understand our ridiculous grading system. But, I am. I'm a "profe" as most people say here. I think I need to either grow a beard or switch my backpack for a briefcase though, because I really look like a student and everyone wants to know how old I am...
Anyway, I'm teaching three classes: a 1st level, 2nd level, and a special, "fast track" course that is levels 4 and 5. I started a week into the semester and am still playing catch-up, especially since the bookstore ran out of books and people keep adding and dropping the courses. Also all of the homework is online and students have a hard time with that--er, so do I. It's all a little stressful and confusing still--even after 3 weeks I have to send different people emails daily asking them how to do things since I wasn't in training. But, overall, I'm enjoying it (so much more than WSI). I teach 15 hours per week and it takes me about 5 hours of lesson-planning and maybe another few hours of grading, but I have time! And I have weekends off. I've already gotten to see more of Ecuador than I did in the past 2 months or so in these few weeks. And, I am taking a Spanish class--although because of surprise meetings and make up classes, I haven't been able to make more than two lessons so far. But still, it's something.
I'm still living at the hostel also, but I've been working all night shifts and getting most of my weekends off, which is awesome. I want to avoid rent for as long as possible, even though it would be nice to have my own bathroom and get a break from people. But then again, I know I'd miss it if I left. Last night was the one year anniversary of the hostel's opening and it made me realize how much this place has become a sort of home for me. Even with the constant flow of new people, it attracts a certain type--a type I like being around. And I've learned a lot about traveling in South American from our guests (and a lot about Ecuador to tell our guests).
I don't know what I'll do when this semester is over. I got an email from my mom and dad today that just made me want to go home and garden with them sooo bad. As hard as I try to be independent and all of that, I'm an Idaho girl at heart and it's rough to be away for so long. I'm pretty sure I'll try to teach at least one more semester and then travel for a few months around here, but who knows? The thing is, living and working here is so much different than traveling through--which is obvious of course, but still hard to deal with. Right now I'm thinking I'll probably go home for about a month in between semesters and then travel after another semester or so here. I miss school and am realizing more and more that without literature and writing, teaching English is not so fulfilling for me. I enjoy it alright and I definitely like my job a lot better now, but what has always driven me is art, not grammar or even the ability to communicate. So, grad school is probably in order in a year or so...but, I'll cross that bridge later.
In the mean time, I guess I'll continue to be a confused English professor and travel when I can. Also, here are some pictures of Mindo and Banos, two beautiful little towns close to Quito that I've been to recently with friends.
|Waterfall outside of Banos.|
|These are out of order, but this is a waterfall near Mindo.|
|This would never fly at the USFS.|
|Banos waterfall again.|
|The town of Banos.|
|Over looking Banos.|