24. Working man (B.A, Argentina)
The lesson went well, it was 2 students which seems to be par for the course for the in-company work here. A bit easier than the 10-15 students we taught on my CELTA course. I've since given another lesson which was at a chemical company based downtown, and again it went well. All my students have been married corporate guys in their 30s.
So now I'm just waiting for Brooklyn Bridge to assign me more classes. A full teaching schedule is normally around 20 hours a week, because of the required preparation time and travelling. I guess a more experienced teacher could fit in a few more hours, but I think with 20 I'll be busy. The teaching is usually either a couple of hours early in the morning, a couple at lunchtime, and a couple in the evening - whenever the students can fit it in around their jobs.
My goal has always been to set myself up so that I can live off my teaching wages. I don't expect to be able to save any money, I just don't want to have to dip into my savings once I start working. If I can do this, I could, in theory, remain here as long as I like.
I've been doing the math though, and it looks like it's gonna be tough. In the past 2 months I've spent on average $90 pesos (NZ$45) a day. On what, I'm not sure. I guess a hostel is an average of $22 pesos a day, around $6 pesos for lunch, around $15 for dinner, and $15 pesos a day for my hour of private Spanish lessons. Throw in my trip to Brazil, and other entertainment and I guess that's what I've been spending my money on. That's a lot more than I budgeted for, but I always expected to spend more money in the first month or so - but on partying, not just on living! What annoys me is I still haven't seen Buenos Aires' renowned nightlife since the clubs have been shut down (they're opening up again now though). And I still haven't found an apartment.
Anyway, if I'm gonna be working 20 hours a week at $15 pesos an hour that's $1200 pesos a month... = $40 pesos a day. So if I'm to survive here solely on my wages I'm going to have to halve my already modest spending. But if I'm going to be pinching every penny (and those who know me know I can pinch it pretty hard) it won't exactly be a holiday. Then again, that's what my objective always was, to try and live like a local by learning the language and living as they live, rather than backpacking from town to town.
So, from now on it's operation cutback. I've moved into a cheap hotel which is only $12 pesos a night for my own room. That's half the price of a stinking dormitory (with 4 or 5 others) in a hostel - I wish I'd found it sooner! I've given up on the idea of cooking my meals, as the few test meals I have cooked worked out to be much the same price as the cheapest restaurants are. Plus it's a lot harder to cook in another country, if you're not much of a chef - all the brands and ingredients you get used to aren't there. Where's the Dolmio? Where's the frozen mixed vegetables? The Continental alfredo packet pasta? (Man, I miss green peas. The peas here are tinned and more brown than green) So now it's budget restrictions on food - < $5 pesos for lunch and < $10 pesos for dinner. Spanish lessons are going to stop for now - I've picked up a local girlfriend who doesn't speak a word of English so I'm getting some good practice with her, even if she gets frustrated when I don't understand something basic. I might start taking lessons again later on, but in a exchange situation - I'll teach someone English for an hour and they'll teach me Spanish for an hour. At the moment I've only got 3 hours a week teaching but I hope to have a full schedule in about a month - Brooklyn Bridge need to confirm classes with companies etc, and then allocate them to their 50 or so teachers. Stay tuned...