Monday, March 31, 2008

Creating Opportunities Through Teaching

Another Monday approaches on the calendar and all seems normal. I experienced an unusual case of insomnia last night only gathering 1 hour of sleep, then managed to go to classes this morning with tons of energy. After the morning class, I did my normal walk over to the language institute to turn in my hours for the month of March. All was usual until I was greeted at the institute with a big smile and hug from a former student of mine. Alejandro Guevara (no relation to Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, the Argentinian Marxist revolutionary) was a student I had in three intensive courses in the end of February/beginning of March. The objective for class with Alejandro, employee of Saab, was simple; prepare him for the biggest presentation of his career.... in English.

No pressure, right?

Alejandro had a big conference in Santiago, Chile in the middle of March where he was to present to the President and CEO of Saab Aircraft Leasing. Alejandro is currently supervisor of the Aircraft Leasing division in northern Argentina. The scenario was if he did a good enough job with his presentation at the conference, he may have an opportunity for promotion in his division.

No pressure, right?

Well, through the three intensive classes I had with Alejandro, we had a good time prepping him for his delivery. To be completely honest, I wasn't sure how well he was going to do as he still hadn't nailed his presentation in front of me and I could see the possibilities of him struggling. As an ESL teacher, there are those classes where you just don't feel you did a good job of getting through to the student. Sometimes, you walk away from a class wondering what you could have done better to help him/her understand more, to make it stick. Then there are classes that you walk away from with an incredible feeling knowing that your students understand and everything was just clicking that class. Well, with Senor Guevara, I felt more of the former than the latter. I could only hope he pulled off a miracle to earn his promotion.

And that he did! Greeting me with a hug and a smile this morning with full appreciation and thanks simply made my day, week, and maybe even month. He claimed the little tips I gave him on how to conquer nerves, relax and deliver with confidence are what earned him this promotion and newfound happiness in his job. I beg to differ, I think he simply found it in himself and is lucky to be a quick learner, nobody executed that presentation but himself and I'm damn proud of him. There is no greater feeling in knowing that you may have created more opportunity for somebody else and their family. This may be the best 'case of the Mondays' I've ever had, what a beautiful day. His smile and happiness made me want to go teach thirty more classes today. But..... I think I will settle for the one more class I have this evening and approach it with a new found appreciation for the business of ESL teaching.


Joshua said...

You always have had the knack of enabling greatness in others my brother!

oldmotorcop said...

You make me proud every day.

jRags said...

damn man, thats amazing! Congrats brother!

I can imagine the smile you had on your face (its probably still there!) when you walked home =)