Monday, September 8, 2008

Teens Be Smart

I really like my job. I meet interesting people with a wide variety of opinions and levels of education, different levels of exposure to the world outside Mexico and varying levels of interest in global issues. I normally teach young adults, in their twenties working in the tourism industry (or with the desire to). Occasionally I get myself a "teens" class, ages ranging from 12-15 which again makes for a very different kind of class. I find myself surfing MTV or Billboard sites and catching up with the lastest video game crazes to be able to communicate with them on their level.

This past Saturday I started a new round of classes with a teen group. They blew my mind. They were far more interested in world issues than in the latest Coldplay release. I wrote "Global Issues" on the board and asked them to give me some examples of the problems the earth is facing. Normally I would be doing a lot of prompting, not only for the English words but for ideas as well. These fabulous teens were on fire, shouting out ideas faster than I could write them!

Endangered species!

The list they came up with was longer than that and they became more specific with every passing moment. I jumped for joy! Young teenagers with knowledge and interest in the world, I couldn't believe it.

The next step in the class was a grammar lesson for "conditionals" ("IF" clauses). These amazing teens were eating it up like candy and spitting back examples before I asked them to.

"If we recycle, the world will be less polluted"
"If we had better education for the police force, there would be less corruption and crime"
"If we educate the people of Mexico, there will be less poverty and unemployment"
"If we don't stop building hotels, Quintana Roo will be destroyed"
"If parents pay more attention to the kids, there will be fewer gangs"
"If everyone voted, Mexico would have a better government"

Who said kids are dumb? This particular group certainly has something special, not only did they surprise me with their level of grammar and vocabulary, but with their vision and interest in the world outside MTV and their Wii.

I can't wait to see them again next Saturday, I think we are going to have a very interesting four weeks together. They were not only smart, they were funny too....

"Teacher, if I pay you 500 pesos, will I pass the course?"

So much for putting an end to corruption. :)


3LittleFlowers said...

Way to go with this group of kids... You have been given a great opportunity to be able to give them "MORE" and "MORE" as you can tell they are already interested!!! (Hope that makes sense)...

LMAO at the 500 bucks!!!! True way to stop corruption!!! LOL

Islaholic Trixie said...

Isn't it great when you are inspired by teenagers. My son Jeremy took me by surprise tonight and was off to a "Waltzing" dance class with his girlfriend. Now, what teenager wants to learn the Waltz? They said they are going to learn the "Swing" and "Salsa" after that. I asked if I could come along if I find a partner.

Heather said...

Wow i am surprising shocked and happy! GL and keep us posted on the group, i learn and live through you girl!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful thing! With so many Mayan children here seemingly losing their culture, it's good to hear that they at least are paying attention to the world... and not just MTV.

Thanks for that little ray of sunshine in a dreary news day :-)

CancunCanuck said...

Momto3- I feel very fortunate to have the job I do, sometimes I feel like I get just as much out of the classes as the students do. And oh I wish it were 500 bucks, but alas it's pesos, lol!

Trixie- Wow, what a cool teenager, I love that! Did they say you could go or were they like "aww, mom, it's just for kids!"?

Heather- I was kind of surprised myself, pleasantly so for sure!

Working Gringa- Working where I do I really get to see the best of this world, people who work hard to improve themselves and to develop their "consciousness". Sure, some are there just to learn English for their jobs but a lot of them are really looking to expand their world, I love it! Thanks for stopping by to say hi!

Gary Denness said...

I did something similar in a class I had in early 2006. The theme was to create a manifesto for the presidential election. Got the same results in the brainstorming session. The winners of our election, had a single solution for all problems. Send them to Guatemala. Load up the peseros and Beetle taxis with all the criminals, politicians, police and perverts and drive them to Guatemala.....

That sees the end of corruption, over-population, crime, pollution etc etc....

For Mexico, anyway! Poor Guatemala...

CancunCanuck said...

Gary- I think sometimes the people of Mexico are underestimated. They have a lot of great ideas for change, they just face a huge barrier in getting changes made. Thus, "ni modo" they say, it can't be done. I like to get my students going by suggesting it's time for a new revolution, always leads to an interesting discussion. Poor Guatamala, lol, they've got their own problems without taking on Mexico's too! :)

Anonymous said...

Nice! This sounds so rewarding! My favorite, most memorable teacher was my junior high Spanish Teacher. Looks like you're making a difference in so many lives!

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