just to pass the time of day!

In the previous post I alluded to a presentation Tom and I made at a local Colegio (College).

A few months ago, a young man we had met  several years ago showed up at our door.  He is in College and doesn’t quite know what he wants to do with himself – his real love is dancing, but he doesn’t see a way to make a decent income from that.

Anyway, his instructor gave him a challenge – see if you like teaching – so here he is asking if we will be his students so he can try it out.

Of course we said yes, –  we also tried to enlist some other friends, but travel and other commitments prevented them from participating.  Too bad really, because although having the weekly commitment to work around it was very educational, inspiring, and fun.  And now we have a new friend.

Anyway again, so for the past few months Isai has been coming to our house at least once, and sometimes twice a week for about 2 hours and has been teaching us Spanish.  He creates lesson plans on his laptop which he puts up on the table and we sit and discuss and learn; all of us.  He, like many young people here are so curious about our lives in the US, and in other countries too.

So much of our conversation centered around things we did as kids, childhood experiences, how did we do this, how did we know to do that, etc, etc.

OK – so 2 weeks ago he tells us his teacher would like to talk to us – we figure she wants our feedback on how he did.  Well we were wrong there, apparently he tells the class about our sessions, and us, and, and…

So she asks us to come and speak about Innovation and Creativity, which seems to be something the students need help with.  Many here do things the way the parents have done things, there is not always a great deal of initiative to think, but wait, what if we do it this way, or try this, …. Thinking outside the box!

Also, something really missing for these young people is interaction with foreigners, and this was a huge thing – for us to come, and sit and talk and to offer them the experience of seeing that we too are just regular people, not to be feared or mystified by.

The instructor herself is a foreigner, she is from Northern Spain, so she indicated that for the students, it is their curiosity about other places that really sets them off and gets them motivated.  We started talking a little about cities in Spain, and in Mexico, and all the name crossovers; Merida, Valladolid, San Sebastian, etc, and about the pilgrimage roads – the students were mesmerized, and a bit awed, they hadn’t realized – it was very cool!

We were invited to come back anytime, to feel as if the school is our house.  Really, I feel so honored!

Anyway, again, agian,  I really suggest any and all of my friends that are living in Countries not their own to go to a local school, college, university, any level, offer to come in and talk, just visit with the students – It’s a fabulous experience for them, and for you!   Really!


About Debi in Merida

I moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA to Merida, Yucatan, MX in January 2006. I love to read, garden, travel, and hang out with friends.
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10 Responses to just to pass the time of day!

  1. Tom's and my experience n creativity and innovation comes from personal experience – we just are! We excel at thinking outside the box!
    It started out that we were talking about how we use creativity and innovation in our lives here when we are not fluent in Spanish. Sometimes you just have to be creative to get your point across, it was then that the maestra asked about economic sustainability, kind of threw us for a minute. She is trying to help guide her students to a future – it was pretty cool when we suggested things, or different ways to do things, you could see the wheels start to turn…

  2. Debi,
    I'm interested in your talk: Innovation and Creativity.

    What sorts of ways did you discuss being creative or changing the way things are done with the Yucatecan students?

    Is that a field you and your husband were in prior to Merida?
    How did the students react to the concept that 'doing things the same way they've always been done' maybe can be improved upon?

  3. I don't for a minute think you'd garner anything but great appreciation!

  4. oh Eric, you two can find as many opportunities to volunteer with as you have hours to commit. You'll love it, and will be fulfilled by it. I know you'll be a hit with the kids, you have great stories!

  5. Islagringo says:

    Go get 'em! Good for you guys. Great story.

  6. Steve Cotton says:

    If you hear that Melaque has declared war on a certain nation to the north, you will know I have followed your advice.

  7. This a great story with inspiring advice …

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this story. Over the winter I had looked for a volunteer opportunity, and got really excited when I thought I had found one: The International Women's Club had been inviting snowbirds into local schools to teach English. But the program was no longer active. So I volunteered at MEL (because of my perception that it was an institution in turmoil which was worthy to be rescued). But I'm still eager to do some volunteering at the right school. (Perhaps one that has no regular English teacher.) You've inspired me anew. Thanks!


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