I have named my students this year, the Travelling Aunts, since they have all come to me with the purpose of consolidating their English speaking skills for the sole purpose of travelling. When I decided to hold a meeting with them only some of then had met before. I did not know what to expect or how to prepare for this meetup. I took some notes on an article about travelling and found a cozy place where we could have a cup of tea and a piece of cake.
The afternoon of our meeting was a typical December day in Santa Fe, 32 Degrees Celcius and 70 per cent humidity, so we ended up ordering lemonade with lots of mint and ginger. The cakes were delicious but what I enjoyed best was the conversation that developed swiftly among people who had met for the first time, who shared a common interest: the awareness of the importance of learning English. Some of my students had been touring different language schools looking for the right kind of class for them. Others had been through difficult situations abroad where they needed to use English to solve a problem. All of them shared their stories as language learners and users with enthusiasm and laughter. By the end of the meeting they were talking as if they were old friends and they urged me to set up another meeting so that they could continue the conversation.
As for me, I forgot about the notes I had taken and I felt that my job had yelded great results this year in terms of engagement and confidence. It also made me reflect on the value of human contact and community building when we are learning languages.
A final thought. As I was uploading the pictures I noticed the tag on the lemonade: "Hecho con Amor" = "Made with Love". What an important ingredient in the teaching equation!