First published 1st July 2008 on

Last night we went to the theatre to see a “Peruvian Espactacular” which was a bit like a cross between circus de soleil and a manga cartoon, with lots of bizarre erotic bits (shagging Incan snow gods) and moralising (the heroine sacrifices her life for her town after getting all pally with the Incas and drinking blood – and her annoying squeaky sidekick (who of course takes off his mask as soon as she snuffs it to reveal himself to be a rather handsome sort who was in lurve with her) buggers off with one of her erstwhile mates). All jolly good fun – and at dinner beforehand (at the lovely El Truco restaurant – a former gambling den) we got a majestic Guatemala count from Ron.

Teaching at the new school feels much more demanding and rewarding than the previous one. Getting 40 plus kids to say “sitting” instead of “shitting” for example, requires a special sort of teaching skill – or at least the ability to keep a straight face. I fail at both.

The primary classes are ace fun as to demonstrate the present continuous verbs I’ve devised a game where (after teaching the relevant verbs) each kid gets a verb on a slip of paper and has to act it out to the others so they can guess what they are doing (in English). Of course I have to demonstrate the verbs first whilst Lisa gets them to repeat the word. She seems to take her time on jumping, so I’m bouncing around getting increasingly knackered whilst the kids laugh their arses off. I’m not sure that this is a standard teaching technique.

Secondary is tougher, although the kids are ace and really want to learn, mainly due to professor Yulio, a weaselly shiny suited little chap who must have bought his professorship from a magazine somewhere as he either knows hardly any English or is the laziest bugger at the school, or both. His teaching method is to let the class run riot until Lisa and myself turn up and get them in order and start teaching them, at which point he leaps in shouting “LISTEN PLEASE” and interfering with stuff we’ve written on the board, or contradicting what we’ve said – with a load of bollox. For example the other day we had kids answering the question “What are the people in Cusco like?” and had just gotten through to them that you have to say “the people are” because in English “people” is plural, when he leaps in saying “If you say the people ARE then you have to say more than one thing about them” in his fractured English, plummeting the kids back into confusion. If a kid is answering a question and I’m trying to help by pointing to the correct vocab on the board, Yulio vaults over and starts pointing to the same words. If we ask a kid a question and they hesitate he either screams at them in Spanish or excitedly shouts out the answer himself. I got a tad tetchy the other day when I started writing the question “How long have you lived in Cusco?” and he jumped in screeching “How MANY!!! You mean HOW MANY”, so I calmly said “Momentito Yulio, por favor” before finishing the question – amid the giggles and “oohs” of the 5th year class. Later on Yulio tried to demand that I taught with him full time, and I explained that that was not what our voluntary agency wanted us to do, as in large classes we were more effective teaching together (that and he’s a tit). To which he tried to say that another teacher due to teach with us the next day had said that she didn’t want to work with us. We assured him that we’d talk to the other teacher, at which point he started rather transparently backpedalling and claiming that the padre (a sweet grey haired old chap) had said he wanted me to work with Yulio exclusively. Of course it all transpired that neither the other teacher or the padre had had any such conversation with Yulio. Bless him!

The famous Yulio with Lisa.

Today was “teachers day” or “dia del maestra”, and we got even more kisses and hugs from the kids than usual (it’s very different to the UK over here), plus some sweeties from the kids. There was due to be dancing from 11.30am although when we got to the year there was a scrum of kids playing football with plastic bottles, little girls in traditional dresses having false plaits stuck onto their heads by proud parents and random pan pipers. in short chaos! It eventually kicked off at 12.45pm, and the teachers were showered with confetti (perhaps explaining a nightmare I had about nits last night), given sweet little cards and gifts (choccies yay!).

Teachers Day. It could never happen in the UK.

I scooted into town afterwards and plucked up the courage to have my legs waxed. Given the rough and ready treatment they recieved I opted out of the full Peruvian and limped off for a coffee. I gave my other half a phone call as it’s our 8 months anniversary (awww), but whilst I was chatting there was a tap at my elbow and I looked down to see a little girl looking plaintively up at me. “Momentito chica, estoy hablando” I said gently, but she carried on pestering as my phone conversation continued so I ignored her. Putting down the phone I started to tell her it was free now and she explained that she went to the new school and had seen me there. Boy was my face red! I think I smoothed things over by asking her name and saying I’d see her next week, but it’ll probably be round the school that I’m an evil child-hating phone-hogging beyatch by then. Still – it might stop them kissing me!